Every child receives one-on-one instruction in order to shape…
Please note: that in general the term “Autistic child” or “Autistic School” have negative connotations and many people may find the term offensive. We prefer to use the term “child with Autism” and “Autism School”. This is important because it puts the individual before the label or condition. Also there is so much more to any individual than a condition that they have. So we prefer to use language and terminology that separates the individual from the condition that they have to deal with. That said, it is also important that we provide online content for people search for “Autism School options” and we need to make sure that they find their way to the right place through the Search Engines.
Extract from Saving my sons
A Journey With Autism page 102
I visited another Johannesburg school for autism, one highly recommended for autistic children. It was meant to be the top autistic school. Upon my arrival, I was taken to meet the principal, whose ideals and vision for autistic children and what an autistic school should look like, I didn’t share. Her lack of knowledge on the causes and treatments of autism concerned me and I couldn’t leave my sons education and future in the hands of someone who wasn’t an expert and who hadn’t kept up with the latest developments. I watched children aimlessly walking around during break at this autistic school, and I left the autistic school disturbed, knowing instinctively this wasn’t the right placement for David.
A long list of private schools catering for the educational needs of typically – developing children and offering luxury facilities and only the best – trained teachers was available to the parents of ‘normal’ children. These parents could select the school that best suited their children’s needs. The focus was on excellence and achievement. It felt to me that no one cared about children with a difference – children who truly needed the best facilities to secure their future. I did not find the same facilities offered as an autistic school for kids like my son.
I finally decided to visit one of the mainstream schools in our area, to ask if they’d consider accepting David along with a facilitator, and the response I got was that the parents of the other children were not ready for a child with autism. It would be disturbing for the parents and the learners to be exposed to autism, and therefore they couldn’t consider my request. I should rather go and look for an autistic school for him.
Years later, I would question the legality of this decision. How could a school that claimed to teach their children good morals and values turn us away, based on the fact that the parents and children were not ready to experience autism? Surely all children should be exposed to difference and given the opportunity to experience the challenges of others less fortunate than themselves? This would inevitably create a great learning opportunity for more ‘typical’ learners. I was not willing to just dump my child at some autistic school where he was not going to be given the best opportunity to reach his potential.
We were rejected and sent that away without consideration or a second thought. Not only was I not finding the right autistic school for my son, but I felt so lost and desperate trying to secure an educational facility for him. Today, the inclusion of children like David in mainstream education has become more widely accepted around the world – but sadly not yet in South Africa.