A special school for autistic children in Joburg will have to close its doors due to a lack of funding, according to a report. “We would have celebrated our 40-year anniversary next year,” school principal Jenni Gous told Afrikaans daily Beeld today. The school needs at least R1 million to stay open and was expected to close its doors within 8 to 12 weeks.It had applied for funding from the National Lottery Board, but has not received any money. The lottery board’s spokesperson, Sershan Naidoo, told Beeld that Autism SA had lodged its application on the last day, and that the board had received 8?500 applications. “Applications are judged on a chronological basis, so they will have to wait their turn. The advert asked organisations to lodge their applications as early as possible,” said Naidoo. The Key School was one of few in Gauteng that specialised in autistic children, and most other such institutions had high school fees – up to R20?000 per month, reported Beeld. Gous said an estimated one in 100 people were autistic. “A conservative estimate would put the number of autistic children in Johannesburg at about 35 000 – with only a handful of schools attending to their needs,” Gous told the Afrikaans daily.