Run for autism

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On Saturday, Paarl Parkrun celebrated its sixth birthday, and participants were asked to wear blue in support of Autism Awareness Month. Photo: Facebook/Paarl Parkrun
On Saturday, Paarl Parkrun celebrated its sixth birthday, and participants were asked to wear blue in support of Autism Awareness Month. Photo: Facebook/Paarl Parkrun

World Autism Awareness Month is observed every year in April to raise awareness of autism and how it affects, not only those who live with it, but the people around them as well.

Organised by the National Autistic Society, the campaign along with World Autism Awareness Day are the flagship awareness events for autism worldwide.

Paarl Post therefore would like to promote awareness of the Boland Autism School situated in Nantes Street, Paarl and the learning possibilities it provides for children on the autism spectrum.

According to school manager Ingrid du Toit, the school, which opened its doors on 18 January 2010, also aims to create awareness of autism in the greater Boland area – for others to respect and value people on the autism spectrum.

The Boland School for Autism was founded in September 2009 by a few parents and professionals, after the need for such a school in Paarl and the surrounding area grew. It started with four children and two tutors. Today they works with 41 children.

The school aims to be an autism-specific school that offers education based on the needs and special abilities of the individual learner.

“We are therefore committed to providing specialised education and facilities for our learners as well as the continual professional training of staff to render the best service possible,” said Du Toit. “We also follow a multi-disciplinary approach with a team consisting of an occupational therapist, speech-language therapist, social worker, educational psychologist and kinderkineticist.

“We strive to follow an adapted CAPS-curriculum, followed by most government schools, as far as possible. However, for many of our learners it is not possible to follow a formal, rigid curriculum. This is why goals are set according to each learner’s unique challenges and strengths.”

Du Toit explains that autism can be described as a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact.

“Autism spectrum disorder impacts the nervous system. The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests and repetitive behaviours.

“Early recognition as well as behavioural, educational and family therapies, may reduce symptoms and support development and learning,” Du toit said.. The school is inviting residents to support them by taking part in their fun run on 7 May at Irene Farm, Northern Paarl.

The theme of the fun run is “Superhero”. Registration takes place from 08:00 to 08:40 and the fun run starts at 09:00. You can take part in the 5 km or the 10 km by jogging, walking or cycling.

Entry is R50 for the 5 km and R100 for the 10 km.

Payments can be made ahead of time via their Yoco online gateway on their website.

For more, call 021 870 1430 or send a WhatsApp to 071 427 5764, or email bolandadmin@bolandautism.org.za.

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