Autism month also hit by virus

EL’s College Street assists special needs pupils

SPECIAL ROLE:College Street Primary School in East London caters for pupils with a range of learning difficulties, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Picture: FILE

Even Autism Awareness Month, which takes place over the month of April, has been left affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

East London’s College Street Primary School was set to host their own Autism Awareness Day on April 4 but was forced to postpone it due to the shutdown of schools.

College Street Primary educational psychologist Julie Cromhout said the school had a history of supporting children with learning challenges and offered services for the hard of hearing.

“College Street became a placement option for children who have a range of schooling difficulties, including autism spectrum disorder [ASD] and other neuro-diverse learning problems.

“We also still have children enrolled who are hard of hearing or have cochlear implants,” Cromhout said.

According to the Ernie Els Centre for Autism, ASD is a developmental disability that can cause differences in communication, interaction, behaviour and learning capabilities.

College Street Primary transitioned in 2017 to become a special school.

“A special school specialises in catering for particular learning challenges and is not suitable for mainstream education.

“Those children who require redirection to a more suitable school are being processed by the District Based Support Team (DBST),” Cromhout said.

Though the school’s primary domain is ASD, this year they have embarked on their “secondary” school skills-based curriculum.

“We have chosen to focus on equipping young persons living with ASD with general knowledge and know-how with regard to everyday life tasks: cooking, maintenance and arts and crafts,” Cromhout said.

The school’s current challenge is funding for their secondary classes.

“We have struggled to equip our kitchen for the cooking class, although some private individuals, as well as a company, have supported the collection of basics such as knives, forks, plates and so on,” Cromhout said.

All the school teachers receive training about ASD, while the school has readily available support staff, an occupational therapist, a social worker and an educationl psychologist.

To assist the school with goods, services or funding, contact the principal, Craig Graham, on 043-722-2247.

SPECIAL ROLE:College Street Primary School in East London caters for pupils with a range of learning difficulties, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Picture: FILE

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