Els for Autism South Africa has big plans for the future, which will shed more light on the cause and spread the net of care they offer to families affected by autism.
The Gauteng Department of Education wants to add more support for parents with children in schools catering for autism learners. The target is those who have higher support needs, lower to moderate functioning children. Els for Autism will join the mission and visit 12 regions, which represent 15 schools and 300 learners. Each trip includes full-day training in order to help parents to get to grips with autism and how it affects their families. The first clinic began on 15 October.
The second project is linked to a company called MST Driving Solutions, which has a branch titled Mobile Schools Health. They operate mobile clinics that visit rural schools, working in conjunction with the Department of Education and the Department of Health to improve the lives of those in need. Mobile Schools Health offers optometry, dentistry, and primary health care screenings for children in Grade R and Grade 1.
Els for Autism South Africa will spend two weeks travelling to schools in Mpumalanga in order to trial options for inclusion in the clinics from 2017. They will screen for autism-related difficulties with the aim of identifying learning disabilities and then referring these children for the correct professional help.
There are 11 mobile school health buses and Els for Autism will be on board a bus sponsored by Eskom, looking to build a referral network in Mpumalanga.
The government runs the Phelophepa Cause, otherwise known as the Train of Hope, which brings medical and educational services to impoverished rural areas. It travels through eight of the nine provinces in South Africa and has doctors and healthcare professionals on board. They traverse the country, stopping off for a week or two to run screenings and clinics for locals. In January Els for Autism will run a basic education programme with the staff on board, while also looking to raise awareness along the route. The aim is to help identify those affected by autism and arrange support for them.
CYCLING FOR A CAUSE
Els for Autism South Africa recently collaborated with the One Heart Foundation for a trail run and mountain bike day at The Big Easy vineyards in Stellenbosch.
The cycling doesn’t stop there, with Els for Autism signing up a new team for the 947 Cycle Challenge as part of the ‘Ride for a Purpose’ campaign.
This year’s team includes former Springbok lock Victor Matfield, trick shot artist Michael Scholz, cyclist Jac-Louis van Wyk and Nico van Rensburg of the Els Group. They, along with a range of other committed riders, are dedicating their attempt at the 947 Cycle Challenge to the cause.
This is the third time the foundation has entered a team into the race, with Scholz as the group’s custodian for ‘Ernie’s Army’ of riders.