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Kagiso Trust comes to rescue of children living with autism

Kagiso Trust breathes new life into school for children living with autism in Bloemfontein.
Written by Molefi Sompane

The Kagiso Trust has come to the aid of children living with autism who were left stranded when their old school, the Blaize Academy for Autism and Children with Learning Barriers in Bloemfontein, closed down almost a year ago.

The Trust donated a new state-of-the-art school to the provincial government.

This has brought relief to the many parents who had to make other plans and find facilities that could cater for the needs of their children living with autism.

Maria Herman was not happy when she heard that Blaize was shutting down, however, she is glad about the newly-built as there will at least be a government-funded facility for children like hers.

Wishing for proper service

“I so wish that this school would provide the same services we got at Blaize Academy where our kids were getting individual attention and we saw results. It is known fact that there are no other schools for autistic children, with small classes and individual attention. The Blaize Academy team was passionate about children with autism and special needs,” she said.

At the time when Blaize Academy started experiencing financial challenges, parents of the children who attended the school lobbied for support from all over the country, which prompted them to open a BackaBuddy donation account for people to donate funds.

Revonne Dreyer worked tirelessly to see her girl get the required education. “It’s good to have the new school that can accommodate all the children, especially during a time when some parents faced financial problems and were forced to take their children out of the Blaize Academy.”

Best facilities available

Meanwhile, the new multimillion-rand state-of-the-art school has all facilities needed by learners. According to the Autism South Africa, one in 160 children is living with Autism.

One of the new classrooms at the Blaize Academy for children living with autism.

Parents are hoping that the newly-built school will also have small classes in which kids are given individual attention. (Photo: supplied)

In the Free State, all 21 public hospitals have psychologists and paediatricians who work with people living with autism, even though this community is quite small.

With the new school now operational, Free State education MEC Tate Makgoe noted that the facility will nurture children living with autism. “We call on society to protect this state-of-the-art facility and help it to grow and preserve the rights of children living with autism.”

Autism advocacy group All about Educational Psychology said the work done to build the school needs to be commended.

Fully-trained teachers needed

“It is very commendable; however, we also need teachers who are fully trained and informed about special learning disorders to better care for learners with autism,” said the group.

The 32 learners who were left in the lurch when Blaize Academy closed down will now get an opportunity to attend the new school that will cater for their needs. Free State education department spokesperson Howard Ndaba said parents of children living autism will be informed about the process to follow, as soon as other logistics have been worked out. – Health-e News

About the author

Molefi Sompane