Autism treatment South Africa
Autism treatment in South Africa is finally making the strides it needs to make. Ilana Gerschlowitz, Managing Director at The Star Academy, travelled internationally searching for the best treatment, not only for her own son but for the many other families who had come to see her as a pioneer in the South African context. These families relied on Ilana as a rare gem who told them that all hope was not lost in a world full of closed doors. Now, a decade on, Ilana has changed the face of autism treatment in South Africa. Ilana has brought Applied Behaviour Analysis at a credentialed, certified, gold-standard level to us. Recognising that autism was in fact a treatable, medical condition, Ilana is also in the process of making biomedical intervention more readily and affordably available to South African families by aligning brilliant local doctors with international doctors experienced in biomedical intervention.
What families need to know when seeking autism treatment in South Africa is that:
- Autism is treatable
- Recovery is possible for some individuals on the autism spectrum
- Biomedical treatment allows an individual to respond more quickly to behavioural intervention
- Behavioural intervention helps an individual catch up the developmental delays found in autism
- A good Applied Behaviour Analysis programme is:
- Closely monitored
- Inclusive of training of significant others in the child’s life
Autism treatment South Africa: At the time of writing this article, The Star Academy had opened its doors in eight centres countrywide – four in Johannesburg, two in Pretoria, one in Durban and one in Douglasdale. Perpetually called to help families in need, Ilana also ensured provision of remote services in locations such as Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Ghana, Rustenburg, Mauritius and even London. Ilana’s reputation spreads far and wide and she regularly holds calls with families from all over Africa and the world.
Autism treatment South Africa: What autism treatment in South Africa needs now, is government support and medical aid funding, so that families can more easily access the intensity of intervention they need for best outcomes. While The Star Academy does everything in its power to give access to intervention and power in the form of knowledge to as many families as possible, it is difficult to ensure that every child receives the treatment they need and deserve in today’s financial climate. In the United States, Applied Behaviour Analysis is recognised as a medical necessity for children on the autism spectrum, and is widely funded by medical aids. These medical aids recognise that the more resources are pooled into early intervention, the less need there will be for intervention over an individual’s lifespan.
The Star Academy is growing quickly and trying to keep up with the increase in need for its services, driven by the exponential increase in the prevalence rates of autism.