JOBURG – AS THE world commemorated World Autism Awareness Day, parent Violet Dzvuke whose child suffers from autism and attends The Star Academy, cried out for government intervention.
The awareness day on 2 April focuses on autism and the children and
families who live with the challenges of this condition. The aim is to create awareness through informing the public about autism. The month of April also marks World Autism Month.
Ilana Gershlowitz, director of The Star Academy, provides tailor-made programmes for children with autism. Autism is a lifelong, complex condition that occurs as a result of disordered brain growth, structure and development. It is believed to stem from a genetic predisposition, possibly triggered by environmental factors, and affects four to five times more boys than girls. Autism is generally detected before the child is three years old.
Gershlowitz said, “Autism is a treatable medical condition and recovery is possible.”
Dzvuke, has a five-year-old daughter who is autistic. Miranda, who loves music and dancing, started off not being able to speak, but now has to now having over 50 words in her vocabulary.
Miranda’s mother spoke about the challenges she faces on a daily basis.
“The public does not know there is a bigger problem in my life than what it seems,” she said. She went on to say that she dreams of the day she can step out of her house and people will know her child is autistic without her constantly having to explain herself.
Dzvuke spoke about the support needed not only from society but government as well.
“I would love for government intervention and for nurses to be aware of this condition, as the earlier it is detected the easier it becomes for the child. Financial support is needed from government,” she said.
Gershlowitz, who has an autistic child herself, lamented the limited resources available in South Africa and has called on government for funding. She said the needs of autistic children are not being met due to the lack of funds.