Every child receives one-on-one instruction in order to shape…
The Star Academy offers tutors and support for Autism in South Africa
The Star Academy offers tutors and support in South Africa to children on the autism spectrum.
“If you have met one individual with autism you have met only one individual with autism”
– Dr Ivar Lovaas
Our team will design each child’s Independent Education plan (IEP) based on the Skills Curriculum. Skills is a developmental yardstick that will help us assess each child across the following domains:
- Executive functioning skills
There are hundreds of skills in each domain that a child requires in order to function to their age. No two children will have exactly the same skills deficits in the above domains and it is for this reason that The Star Academy’s provides the perfect solution – An Individualised IEP to address each child’s specific skills deficit as opposed to one curriculum set to teach a number of children who all have different skills deficits.
Autism Schools in South Africa
Autism South Africa, on the rise – Autism is on the rise worldwide. Autism in South Africa is increasing exponentially at a rapid rate. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA recently released their latest statistics showing that every 1 in 59 children born in the USA is receiving an autism diagnosis. In South Africa we do not have a body taking these statistics, so accurate local figures for Autism South Africa are not available. But Autism in South Africa is increasing more or less on par with the increases seen in the USA and other countries around the world.
Trouble diagnosing Autism South Africa – Many doctors and physicians have a low awareness of autism and thus fear and avoid making the diagnosis. Much of the exposure at medical school presents Autism as something to exclude when diagnosing. There is also an out-of-date tendency to simply label it a neurological disorder, and to call these children retarded, when in fact we know it is a treatable biomedical disorder.
Shortage of Autism Schools in South Africa – Autistic children are not getting the specialized education they need.
Intervention required for treatment at Autism Schools in South Africa
Both biochemical and teaching interventions are required for effective treatment –
It is important to treat the root cause of Autism not to just address the symptoms. It is important to treat the gut and immune system and break the inflammatory cycle. It is also important to support the body’s detoxification system and help remove the toxins from their bodies. Parents must always be guided by their doctor.
There is a misconception, even among those in the autism community, that one either seeks biomedical treatment or does ABA. You want to do both. You must remove the barriers medically and simultaneously you have to teach the children self-help skills. They have to catch up to the stage their peers have achieved naturally. Autism appears to be an environmental illness with a genetic component, and it is a complex metabolic disease, not just a developmental disability. Autism involves multiple body systems interacting with one another. Autism is treatable and early intervention is critical.
At the Star Academy in South Africa the teaching methodology we use is called ABA to provide tutoring and support. Applied Behavior Analysis. ABA has five decades of research in support of it being an effective methodology for children with autism and the old “aspergers” diagnosis. ABA is operant conditioning and uses positive reinforcement to teach children the skills they missing. ABA has been proven effective an Autism treatment internationally and also for autism in South Africa.
Diagnosis of Autism in South Africa:
What does it truly mean to have an autism diagnosis? Autism simply means that the child is developmentally delayed and what we call skills deficit which brings me to our developmental curriculum. Our trained team are experts in childhood development. It is for this reason that we are successfully able to set a curriculum for each child. In addition to this we also use a holistic developmental curriculum, the “Skills” developmental curriculum for autism spectrum disorder.
Each child will be allocated a case manager who uses the Skills Developmental Curriculum to set their Individualised Education plan (IEP). One thing we know for certain is that no one child with autism has exactly the same skills deficits. Therefore it is important to design and individualised IEP for each child to catch up their specific skills deficits.
Assessment and treatment at Autism Schools in South Africa
Assessment at Autism Schools in South Africa:
All autism schools in South Africa use their own individual method to assess each child. When we assess a child with Autism or Aspergers at The Star Academy we will look at 8 developmental areas. These include:
- Executive Functioning
These areas are inter-related and if a child has skills deficits in one area it will result in them having deficits in other areas. It is therefore important to make sure that we carefully assess and determine which skills the child with Autism or Aspergers is missing so that we can design a program to catch them up.
Autism Schools in South Africa:
With the increase in the number of children receiving an autism diagnosis, there is a need for more autism schools in South Africa to be established to cater for the needs of autistic children.