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:
    • Intensive
    • Comprehensive
    • Closely monitored
    • Tailor-made
    • 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.

 

Autism treatment solutions:

There are several methods that can be considered as Autism treatment solutions, play therapy, OT (Occupational Therapy), speech therapy and Applied Behaviour Analysis therapy to mention a few.

  • Play Therapy: this is a form of counseling that uses play to communicate, enhance social skills and eradicate psychosocial challenges. Children are able to express themselves through the form of play and portray their feelings and experiences on toys and through games.
  • Occupational Therapy: this is the form of using assessments and interventions to retain, create and recover new, lost or current activities.
  • Speech therapy: this focuses on the fluency, language and voicing issues a child could have, this aims at eradicating any issues around communication and prevent any hindrances around speaking.
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis therapy: this is the application of the principles of behaviour to challenges that are socially important in order to produce practical change. ABA works off the methodology of operant conditioning which is a learning process through which the strength of behaviour is modified by reinforcement, for example if you ask a boy to ride a bike and he carries out the instruction correctly he would obtain reinforcement which could be anything from primary to secondary, be it a juice box or two minutes of play with a ball. ABA therapy aims to decrease undesired behaviour and eradicate any skills deficits that are a result of these behaviours. This form of therapy works on building skill repertoire and developing effective behaviour management solutions. ABA therapy offers one on one therapy which gives the child a better chance at success by having individual attention. Qualified Supervisors design unique programs for each child and a set team is put in place to carry out the requirements of the program. As much as ABA works on diminishing problem behaviour and building skills do we play with the child in the most age appropriate way and promote social skills and interaction.

The good news for parents is that because of The Star Academy’s comprehensive curriculum, Autism treatment solutions and thorough training procedures, your child’s motor, sensory, language and other needs can all be addressed in one programme.

The Star Academy which is the leading organization providing ABA therapy does this in a variety of ways suitable for children at all levels and stages of their development, children can attend the academy full time, part time, through school facilitation or in the home setting, making it an available form of therapy for any child in need. Having centers all around South Africa allows for many children the opportunity and the chance of recovery.

The Star Academy is a beacon of hope to families who have children with autism, having trained instructors that care greatly for children and work around the clock to push for recovery is something all children need.

This autism treatment power house aims to spread the message that recovery is possible.

The Star Academy’s motto: “Reversing autism, one child at a time”

 

Autism symptoms and treatment

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects one in many different ways. There is a wide range of symptoms of ASD where some may be mild, others severe, and still others somewhere in between. The symptoms are commonly discovered in early childhood which is usually the first two years of life and it is said that early intervention is critical, especially since the younger the child is upon first receiving treatment, the fewer developmental gaps there are to close.

Signs and symptoms may include but are not limited to repetitive behaviours which include repetitive movement with an object like fidgeting with a car or repetitive body movements such as flapping of hands or rocking. They may have an interest or obsession about certain things or topics. A person with Autism may also get upset by slight change in routine, have little or no eye contact, and may also repeat words or phrases rather than communicating in a way that is meaningful to others (an in turn, for the person communicating).

Autism is widely known and accepted as a lifelong disorder, however it can be treated and with the right treatment, recovery is possible. Therefore with that said all of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, and more, can be treated.

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) – This is a research-based Autism treatment. In this treatment each child’s program is designed to meet the needs of the child as an individual. It is mostly one on one therapy which focus on language, play, adaptive skills, social, executive functioning, motor, and cognitive skills. Under each category ABA aims to equip the child with tools and skills that will promote independence. Research shows that children who begin this treatment at an early age make more significant changes than those who receive this intervention later in life, but it also shows that those who receive this treatment at any stage in life make more progress than those who never receive it.

With all that said Autism is treatable and with proper research of Autism symptoms and treatment one can find a treatment program which will address the child’s deficits as an individual.

The good news is that The Star Academy is your one-stop shop for autism symptoms and treatment. Our staff are experts in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis, specific to autism spectrum disorder. Many parents find that they receive more information and clarity in their initial parent meeting with our Managing Director, Ilana Gerschlowitz, than they have in their entire journey up until the point of meeting her. She dispels many of the myths around autism, including those that it is not treatable or that there is little hope and that parents should start making provisions for institutionalisation later in life.

Autism support groups in South Africa:

“It is never too late to expand the mind of a person on the autism spectrum”- Dr Temple Grandin

The Star Academy aims to support families, care givers and the community with pupils who are on the autism spectrum with Autism support groups in South Africa. The organization provides parent, sibling and extended family support and guidance. They take every media opportunity they can across as many demographics as possible to create awareness and improve the knowledge and understanding on Autism. Hosting workshops and provide frequent training for people interested in this line of work, expanding and enhancing their skills creates hope and confidence in families who have someone close to them on the Autism spectrum.

We can never come to think what a parent with an autistic child feels or goes through, no words can amount to what they deal with daily as we can all relate that no day is the same, a new day comes with new learning curves and different challenges that need to be tackled with compassion. Autism support groups in South Africa allow parents, care givers and siblings the opportunity to debrief with people dealing with similar obstacles and are able to shed light on their stories.

“Shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased.”

The Star Academy acts as an information line for the Autism community, the organization has a set of skilled workers who are able to provide assistance for families and people dealing with Autism. They are able to give you information on where to get a diagnosis, information on schools and centers that provide treatment for pupils on the autism spectrum, provide support and advocacy, where to participate in community activities, Autism support groups in South Africa and so on. Many parents within the Star Academy family have combined forces to form their own autism support groups in which they share resources and shortcuts to finding the best biomedical treatment options and stories of their own child’s successes and trials at The Star Academy.

As one mom of an autism support group said, “you may think us “special needs moms” have it pretty tough. We have no choice, we just manage life when things get really tough. We have made it through the days we thought we would never make it through, we have even impressed our own selves with all that we do. We have gained patience beyond measure, love we have never dreamed of giving. We worry about the future but know this “special” life is worth living. We have bad days and hurt sometimes, but we hold our heads up high. We feel joy and pride and thankfulness more often than we cry. For our kid’s we aren’t just super moms, no, we do so much more. We are cheerleaders, nurses and therapists who don’t walk out the door. We handle the good with the bad, we don’t know what the future holds but we give our kids the best, we don’t get breaks but we will do whatever it takes, for our kids to be accepted is really our aim, when we look at them we just see innocent little souls, don’t you see the same? They deserve all the love we hope you feel the same.”

 

Autism spectrum disorder treatment

The amount of progress that can be expected in autism spectrum disorder treatment is still a topic of debate, however there is much evidence supporting  effective autism treatment. The synergy between various therapies, as well as biomedical interventions have also proven effective in autism treatment.

In South Africa, medication tends to be used to treat specific behaviours related to autism such as hyperactivity, aggressive behaviour and sleep disorder. Autism affects individuals differently, so appropriate medication is used for specific reasons.

A more functional approach to medical treatment in autism has shown to optimise outcome much more effectively. Biochemical assessment and supplementative therapies in autism treatment are being researched and applied with positive benefit. An example of effective therapy in autism treatment is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behaviour works to real situations. The goal is to increase behaviours that are helpful and decrease behaviours that are harmful or affect learning. ABA therapy programs can help increase language and communication skills, improve attention, focus, social skills, memory, and academics as well as decrease problem behaviours. ABA therapy programs are child specific and tailor made to suit individual child needs. This has proven to be highly effective in autism treatment. Almost half of children who receive Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) will recover from autism, meaning that they will achieve scores in the normal range on standardised assessments, function independently in a mainstream setting, and be indistinguishable from neurotypically-developing peers.

Dietary intervention may be appropriate to address certain symptoms or disease in autistic patients. Some children demonstrate an improvement when dietary restrictions are implemented. There are many dietary interventions that are associated with alleviation of autism symptoms, an example of a particular one is the gluten free diet. The Gluten Free diet is the removal of all wheat protein (gluten), and milk protein from the diet.

Many parents and physicians have found that implementing the gluten free diet relieves many of the symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders. The benefit of a gluten-free/casein-free diet is based on the theory that children with autism may have an allergy or high sensitivity to foods containing gluten or casein. The idea behind the use of the diet is to reduce symptoms and improve social and cognitive behaviours and speech.

The use of vitamins in autism spectrum disorder treatment is also one which should not be overlooked. There are several reasons to suspect that children on the autism spectrum may not be getting sufficient nutrients, including chronic diarrhoea or constipation, gastrointestinal inflammation, and a tendency to restrict food choices. In addition, the possibility exists that children with autism do not break down or process the nutrients they do consume in expected ways.

Mega-vitamin therapy and other nutritional supplements are common in autism treatment. It is important to consult with a biomedical professional when considering dietary and medical changes for your child.

Contact The Star Academy, South Africa’s leaders in autism spectrum disorder treatment.

 

Autism Specialist

For continued employment at The Star Academy, staff are equipped and required to achieve and maintain their  Board Certification as an Autism Technician (BCAT) from the Behaviour Intervention Certification Council (BICC) in the United States. The BICC strive to provide the highest standard of treatment to those who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is achieved by using the principles and procedures of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and consistent development, implementation, coordination and evaluation of all aspects of the certification and certification renewal processes for BCATs which makes them the most viable autism specialist. There are many benefits to being an autism specialist at The Star Academy, including but not limited to:

  • Knowledge and hands-on experience in the field of Autism.

BCATs have to provide ongoing ABA instruction to clients in order to maintain their certification. This includes, but is not limited to being exposed to various personalities, behaviours, deficits, challenges and programmes to meet those deficits. A percentage of this service delivery must be overseen by a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst to ensure top-quality service provision.

  • Continuous learning through monthly trainings from various specialists.

The clinical director of The Star Academy, Jenna White, is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and conducts monthly training sessions aimed at facilitating more exposure to the different facets of autism and how to treat it effectively and efficiently. In addition, she provides access to formal Continuing Education events which cover specific topics within autism treatment and involve multi-modal training experiences.

  • Professional development

Instructors are also given the opportunity to manage cases. This occurs after achieving their Board Certification as a Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) or Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analyst (BCABA) from an intensive course provided by the Florida Institute of Technology or similar international institution. Case managing entails drawing up programmes through monthly workshops (consisting of a meeting between the client, the client’s parents, therapy team, and case manager/supervisor). During a workshop, the case manager/supervisor therapy team probe through a variety of content to determine what the client knows/not knows.  A cohesive skills acquisition programme is then put together to meet the client’s needs.

  • Increases the confidence caregivers give to their employees

Due to all the staff at The Star Academy being Board Certified as Behaviour Analysts/Autism Technicians, parents can rest assured that their children are in the hands of autism specialist who have a firm foundation of knowledge and expertise and who receive continual monitoring, training, and support.

The Star Academy holds itself to a high standard and is easily the most well-credetialled institution in the field of behaviour analysis on the African continent. The Star Academy wields an undeniable commitment to the cause in the exemplary autism education that they put into all members of staff.

AUTISM SOUTH AFRICA – RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE

TREATMENT FOR AUTISM IN SOUTH AFRICA – THE MAGIC OF ABA

At the Star Academy the teaching methodology we use is called ABA. 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 instructors at the Star Academy are Board Certified Autism Technicians and are registered with the BICC which is the Behavioral Intervention Certification Council based in the USA that regulates ABA globally. Our trained team of Autism Technicians 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.

Individual treatment:

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 OF AUTISM IN SOUTH AFRICA

Assessment of Autism South Africa:

When we assess a child with Autism or Aspergers we will look at 8 developmental areas. These include:

  • Cognition
  • Language
  • Executive Functioning
  • Motor
  • Play
  • Adaptive
  • Social
  • Academic

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.

ABA method for treatment of Autism in South Africa:

ABA includes behaviour modification. Many children with autism will engage in maladaptive behaviours and the only way to reduce these behaviours is to focus on skill acquisition. Each child will also receive a behaviour intervention plan which is aimed at addressing that specific child with autism’s skills deficits.

According to Dr Ivar Lovaas – “If you have seen one child with autism you have seen ONLY one child with autism.” It is for this reason that we never group children with Autism or Aspergers together but rather design an IEP for each child who attends the Star Academy in South Africa.

For some children who have prerequisites skills for school we facilitate them at mainstream schools in addition to working on their skills deficits one-on-one. Once we have caught up their language skills we can focus on social goals which will help them to be socially successful. Children with autism do require a solid set of language skills before they can be successful socially or keep up with the classroom environment.

AUTISM IN SOUTH AFRICA IS AFFECTING MORE AND MORE FAMILIES

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.

AUTISM SOUTH AFRICA – WHAT IS AUTISM?

Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.

ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder):

The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism. Aspergers Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder are examples of conditions that are now considered Autism Spectrum Disorders and are different from what is considered classic Autism.

Autism signs:

Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Parents with concerns should seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes. Early recognition, as well as behavioural intervention, educational and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.

Environmental triggers for Autism:

There is a growing body of opinion that suggests that genetically predisposed children are encountering a neurologically toxic environmental ‘triggers’ that disables them and disconnects them from the world (proposed triggers include heavy metal toxicity, pesticides, viruses, and parasite/viral/bacterial-induced toxicity).

AUTISM SOUTH AFRICA – POSSIBLE SIGNS AND DIAGNOSIS

Autism requires a medical diagnosis

The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests and repetitive behaviours.

People may experience:

  • Behavioural:inappropriate social interaction, poor eye contact, compulsive behaviour, impulsivity, repetitive movements, self-harm, or persistent repetition of words or actions
  • Developmental:learning disability or speech delay in a child
  • Cognitive:intense interest in a limited number of things or problem paying attention
  • Psychological:unaware of others’ emotions or depression
  • Also common:anxiety, change in voice, sensitivity to sound, or tic

If you are concerned that your child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder you should approach a medical practitioner for assessment.

The Autism South Africa organisation assists families in accessing assessment and diagnostic services by qualified professionals. If you would like to be assisted in getting a diagnosis for yourself or your child, please download and complete the assessment application form below. Please send it to director@autismsouthafrica.org or deliver it to your nearest Autism SA office:
Download ASD_Assessment_Questionnaire

AUTISM SOUTH AFRICA TREATMENT AND RECOVERY

Recovery is possible for Autism South Africa – The Star Academy provides support to families in South Africa whose children have been diagnosed with autism. Our experience has shown that with the right treatment recovery is possible. Research has shown that children who start Autism intervention early, and receive a high intensity applied behaviour analysis therapy on a weekly basis for at least a few years achieve the most significant gains. The Star Academy offers a school based solution to support the parents of children with Autism in South Africa.

Board certified Technicians for Autism South Africa – All staff members at The Star Academy Autism Schools across South Africa and Africa have participated in an international ABA Board Exam, achieving certification as Board Certified Autism Technicians (BCAT). This certification further validates the autism-specific treatment skills of our team members in South Africa and their competencies in using the principles and procedures of applied behaviour analysis.

Our Approach to treatment of Autism – One of the many interventions for autism is ABA – Applied Behaviour Analysis which involves the application of the principles of behaviour to issues that are socially important to produce practical change. PROMPT, (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) is a holistic, dynamic, multi-sensory therapeutic program developed for the assessment and treatment of speech production disorders. These therapies combined with the correct nutritional and environmental supports are highly successful in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Read more about our approach to treatment.

AUTISM SOUTH AFRICA HOPE AND SUPPORT

Stories of hope for Autism South Africa – There are many other families fighting Autism and winning all across South Africa. And there are many real stories of hope about children who have lifted the limits placed upon them and are recovering from Autism. Please explore our Resources section and our Facebook page to learn more. Or contact us to learn more about recovery from Autism in South Africa.

 

When one reads the title of this article one immediately thinks it is about the stats and the impact of Autism in South Africa but it is not. Instead, it’s a trip down imagination lane!

Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact with others. It is characterised by restricted or repetitive behaviour. These include the repetitive movement with objects like fidgeting with a toy, repeated body movements like flapping of hands or rocking as well as some sensory sensitivity. Autism can be a lifelong disorder however treatment is available and can help. Treatments such as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) are a medical necessity. Autism affects 1 in 59 children in the United States, and the South Africa statistics are likely to be similar since autism does not discriminate across socio-economic status or location.

Many of the behavioural symptoms of autism are things that we all do. The difference is that they last longer, the individuals don’t grow out of them, or they are more intense and thus lead to interference with social interaction or learning. Many of the symptoms are more noticeable in an individual on the spectrum because they don’t know how to compensate for them or reign them in to socially acceptable levels or find appropriate alternatives for them. So maybe, just maybe, everyone is a little bit on the Autism spectrum in South Africa.

Imagine, if you will, an autistic South Africa. Indulge me in imagining being surrounded my more of the endearing components of an autism diagnosis.

Completely normal behaviour: being nervous when meeting new people. You might look around the room and bit more or break away from eye contact a bit more than if you were talking to someone you had known for years. A person on the spectrum will likely make no eye contact whatsoever, thus appearing rude or unfriendly. Imagine in autistic South Africa, where that is normal and accepted rather than misunderstood or shunned, you simply move yourself into that person’s range of vision and keep talking. Or forget about the social conventions requiring us to make eye contact, and focus on the quality of the verbal exchange!

Completely normal behaviour: telling your friend what you think of their new haircut. The autistic version of this is telling you 100% the truth, all the time, regardless of whether or not it hurts! Many individuals with autism don’t understand the need for deception, for example in the form of a white lie. Imagine, in autistic South Africa, if we all said exactly what we thought all the time! Liberating? Or chaos-causing!

Personally, I would love to spend a day in Autistic South Africa, meeting its people and their refreshingly simple and honest view on the world.

Autism is a growing population in today’s society. More and more parents are facing the diagnosis of Autism than ever before and it is easy to believe that they are feeling overwhelmed. There are more therapies and interventions catering to Autism now than in the past and parents can often feel overloaded with information when it comes to Autism in children.

Understanding the basics is a good place to start. Autism in Children is a spectrum disorder, this means to say that the variety and severity of symptoms can vary greatly from child to child. Autism impacts each child’s nervous system in varying degrees, this accounts for variations in symptoms and prognosis. Early diagnosis is key for effective intervention and treatment, at the Star Academy we believe that early effective intervention can greatly improve quality of life and outcomes.

In the past an Autistic Diagnosis was seen as a hopeless sentence that had no possible positive outcome. Today with Autism in Children being more prevalent than ever before it is a huge relief to say that there are more options for children with Autism and more hope than ever before. The Star Academy uses a multi-faceted Applied Behavioural Analysis approach to target all areas such as social challenges, language delays and even basic gross motor development. Applied Behaviour Analysis is based on the science of learning and uses accurate data to ensure that new skills are transferred and learnt in a systematic way. It can target many areas all at once and can be implemented in a therapy setting, school setting and every day life. By targeting all these areas in therapy the outcome is a holistic development that focuses on what the individual needs instead of what the outcomes should be according to a rigid therapy structure.

Allowing for flexibility within therapy allows for a greater understanding of each child’s areas of strengths and challenges. It allows the therapy team to customise their approach and understanding of the child on different levels. Developing on their strengths and supporting challenges helps each child to achieve and experience success, which is crucial for self development. At The Star Academy we strive to have each child feel successful within their capabilities. There is also a strong focus on developing independence and autonomy which helps our children to become functioning and contributing members of society.

Autism in children does not follow a set path or guidelines. Each family’s and each child’s needs is a unique experience that will requires its own support and assistance in different areas. Working with a team of committed individuals ensures that areas of concern are addressed and common goals are reached through therapy. Many families are finding new hope and support to help them overcome their autism diagnosis.

Autism doctors in South Africa: Firstly, when it comes to diagnosing a child on the Autism spectrum it would have to be through a trained health professional for example, psychiatrist, neurologist or child psychologist. Their diagnosis will be based on the DSM-5 diagnosis for Autism. An applied behavioural analysis instructor will not be able to provide a diagnosis but will and can refer to a trained health professional of South Africa.

There are however many Autism doctors in South Africa that have specialised in ASD children. The can provide bio-medical options and can refer you to behavioural training centres.

One of the main influencers in the biomedical approach is Doctor Lindenberg. She is not only the sought after doctor in terms of the biomedical approach but she also offers various talks to other health professionals, teachers and parents around ASD. As more people of the community and society become aware the more likely they are able to seek the correct assistance to assist the child in the best possible way. Doctor Lindenberg’s philosophy is that she will only conduct the tests that are necessary should it be highly required and if the tests could lead and contribute to altered change to the child’s life. The most common tests in which they conduct are : blood tests at a pathology laboratory, urine tests, urine challenge tests, stool analysis and personal genomic tests. Doctor Lindenberg is based in Cape Town and more information can be driven from her website : http://drlindenberg.co.za

Autism doctors in South Africa: Another doctor in South Africa that had special interest in Autism Spectrum Disorder is Doctor M Mabeba. She is a specialist child psychiatrist in South Africa.

Hannah Kaye is a specialist nutritionist in South Africa, she has attended the Defeat Autism Now conference in California, alongside many other health professionals, researchers and scientists on the biomedical approach. She has a strong message that is in line with The Star Academy in saying that Autism recovery is possible. She believes that in order for our body to be at its optimal we

should and have to consume the correct types of foods that have the most important nutrients that our body needs. She used the biomedical approach to decipher the correct nutrients a child should consume for the best possible outcome and results in a holistic approach. She is a knowledgeable and insightful person when it comes to the nutrition side. Also, further information can be sought from her website :http://hannahkaye.co.za/about-hannah-kaye/

It is always said to gain as much knowledge around ASD before taking any approach, as the most important person is your child and their life.

At The Star Academy, we like to incorporate a holistic approach to treating a child on the Autism Spectrum. It is a combination of the behavioural training, nutrition and the biomedical approach. The Star Academy is going to great lengths to train medical doctors in South Africa under international biomedical doctors so that we can bring the same level of expertise to our children with a more pleasing price tag.