Pretoria – The Gauteng Department of Education has officially opened the Thulasizwe School for children with autism in Orlando West, Soweto.
The school caters for children aged three to 21 from Orlando East and West, Dobsonville, Protea Glen, Meadowlands and Diepkloof.
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi first made the pledge to open the school during World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) last year.
The school has special rooms, including an occupational therapy and physiotherapy centre, nursing room, gross motor room and sensory room.
Speaking at the launch on Monday, MEC Lesufi said the schools will include curriculum and support programmes for learners with autism spectrum disorder.
Gauteng MEC for Social Development Molebatsi Bopape urged communities to be vigilant by reporting families that are abusing children who have special needs.
Allen Claire, an autism specialist at the Gauteng Department of Education, said the department looks at each child according to their challenges and sets a special programme for them.
“Whether it’s a sensory issue or communication issue, we help the child to overcome the challenge,” said Claire.
Acting Principal Florence Dzedzemane said the opening of the school is a milestone for the people of Soweto.
“Children have had to travel long distances to access schools for autism. We’re very happy that now the school is nearby. Parents who have autistic children can enrol so that their children can learn more things in the right environment.”