Spotlight on autism

Guests who attended the Noluthando School for the Disabled’s awareness campaign.

Autism is a disorder not widely understood especially in the township – this was the key message delivered when Noluthando School for the Disabled in Khayelitsha held an autism awareness campaign event last Friday.

April is known as a month which celebrates Freedom Day but it has also been set aside to acknowledge autism.

The event was aimed at bringing awareness to the community of Khayelitsha while addressing some myths and negative perceptions about autism.

School principal Ayanda Ncinane

School principal, Ayanda Ncinane, said for the duration of the month they held various awareness campaigns in an effort to make people understand the disorder.

He said such events play a critical role in ensuring that people living with this disorder are understood and treated like everyone else.

He said it was essential that they continue to have such events as they also help children living with this disorder not feel like outcasts in the community.

He believes a lot of people have gained significant knowledge from such events and hoped it makes lasting impact.

“We will continue to have such events until such a day that no one discriminate people living with this disorder. I hope we could live in a society where we could embrace our differences and not make each other feel less important than others,” said Mr Ncinane.

Talking about school challenges, he said they are currently battling with a shortage of buses needed to ferry the children between home and school.

Not enough buses have been allocated by the Department of Education.

Member of the school governing body (SGB), Nolubabalo Mdange, said she has a 13 -year- old child who is living with autism and she understood autism better than anyone.

Ms Mdange said when parents from the township have children with autism they tend to claim that their children had been bewitched, which is not true.

She said they must learn to accept and love their children unconditionally.

The community must also learn to understand that not everyone is going to be born the same and must accept other people whom are different from them and not make their lives a living hell.