Introduction to Autism & Some Statistics:
The Blue and You Autism Awareness NPO was born out of a need to create community awareness and acceptance of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). At Breakthrough Interventions South Africa we work with children with ASD, assisting them to regulate their own behaviour, develop speech and interact socially.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?:
ASD affects 1:59 children. It is a developmental condition in which people experience difficulty in the following areas:
- Social /communicative
- Repetitive and stereotypical behaviours
- Sensory challenges
Each person with ASD presents with a different combination of intensity within each of the 3 areas listed above. As such no 2 people with Autism are exactly the same.
Challenges in SA:
In the course of what we do we encounter many people who misunderstand ASD and in the educational environment, those who are not welcoming of children with ASD, despite the white paper 6, (South African Department of Education, 2001) which makes provision for children with ASD to attend mainstream schools where appropriate.
Additionally, Unlike other countries, behavioural therapy is not covered by medical aid in South Africa. This means currently only families with financial means are able to assist their children with ASD to have access to the therapy which has the most research for success worldwide. In the school environment families are financially responsible for providing staff (facilitators) to assist their children in mainstream schools, which again means that families without financial means are limited in getting educational help for their children.
Goals of our Organisation:
- To Raise funds for an Autism Treatment Centre
- To sponsor therapy for children with ASD from low income families
- To Raise awareness of about Autism Spectrum Disorder
What are the Benchmarks upon which to “Measure” Success?:
The goals we set for each child who enrols at Breakthrough Interventions is to develop speech, learn to regulate their own behaviour, to develop appropriate and meaningful interaction with peers, to develop independence skills and to access mainstream education. In 2019 we had 4 learners start mainstream grade one, 5 learners start mainstream grade R and 1 learner start mainstream high school. Additionally several other clients return to mainstream education in various grades following on from their success in mainstream in 2018. Approximately 85% of children coming through our program who have started at an early age attend mainstream school.
Our Background & Experience:
Caz Collins holds a Master of Medical Science Degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder and a B. Soc. Sci. In Psychology and Industrial Psychology.
Since 2008, she has run her own practice, using Behavioural Intervention to treat children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Caz trains teachers and school staff on successful and appropriate methods for integrating children with ASD into mainstream classrooms. In addition, she offers training workshops for 1:1 facilitators, behavioural instructors, school facilitators, and parents of children on the Autism Spectrum. Caz is a spokesperson for parents who want to integrate their children with ASD into mainstream schools. Caz is a mother of three boys, the oldest of whom is on the Autism spectrum. She has 14 years of first hand experience with the condition and the impact it has on families; this includes the heartache and the success, as well as strategies for meaningful developmental gain. Caz’s passion lies in seeing children on the Autism Spectrum growing towards their full potential and
finding their voices. Caz has been the guest speaker at numerous Autism functions throughout South Africa.
Why are you setting up on North Coast?:
Ultimately we envisage a self sufficient Autism center which apart from providing therapy for children with ASD, would also have other components to the venue: We envisage a gym, coffee shop and precooked meal service on the property which would provide a service for parents waiting while their children are in therapy sessions, but also generate income via rent. Other income generating potential outside of therapy hours could be venue hire for community events such as weddings or parties, karate or yoga. Additionally, a pool for swimming lessons for the community could also be considered.
This is a long term goal and in the mean time we want to expand the work we have already started in the Glenwood area and duplicate it to assist children with ASD in the North coast area. We would want to partner with schools in the area to gain support in mainstreaming children with ASD as we have done in Glenwood.
These are Costs that will be incurred in order to Start Operating:
- Floor layout / design
- 4 x Adult size tables
- 6 x Child size tables
- 1 x Conference table
- 30 x Adult size chairs
- 24 x Child size chairs
- 2 x PCs
- 2 x Laptops
- 6 x Ipads
- 1 x Projector
- 1 Photocopier (may want to do this on a rental)
- Airconditioner per room
- WiFi setup
- Rental deposit
- Electricity deposit
- Student learning material
- Social media marketing budget