Learners with autism

2018-05-03 06:01
Deputy Minister of Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu(in yellow) talking to autism learners Liyabona Mlungu (left) and Thabo Mthako during the opening of laboratory.PHOTO: unathi obose

Deputy Minister of Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu(in yellow) talking to autism learners Liyabona Mlungu (left) and Thabo Mthako during the opening of laboratory.PHOTO: unathi obose

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The season of goodies has arrived early for the children at the Noluthando School for the Deaf in Site B as the Deputy Minister of Social Services arrived with a haul of tablets and school uniform last friday.

The school also caters for children with autism.

the department donated the gadgets in collaboration with the MTN South African Foundation.

About 22 tablets were donated, while about 82 learners received school uniforms.

Each learner received two pairs of shoes, and three items of shirts, tracksuit pants, skirts, vests, underwear, including three pairs of socks and a toiletry pack.

Deputy Minister for Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, said the tablets were specially designed for children with autism.

“The needs of a computer lab for deaf learners and those of children with autism are miles apart, different.”

So, we couldn’t just make them share the computer lab. We had to design a laboratory for each specific disability,” she said.

She said the laboratory was fitted with modern furniture and a grey paint in order to calm down the learners, because white paint tends to make them lose focus.

“Autistic children are wired differently from the day they are born and technology excites them.

If an autistic child sits in front of any device- they can unscramble the gadget and open it,” she said

She said her department is also committed to the Social Relief of Distress program to assist disadvantage learners.

“We picked up a number of learners that do not have uniforms when we were here last year, so we will provide uniform to ensure that they look like other learners and concentrate on their studies,” she said.

MTN SA Foundation’s Angie Maloka said they were there to fulfil a promise they made to the school last year.

“Last November, we were here to open a computer lab for deaf learners and promised them to come back.

... We are here today to open another lab. As MTN we don’t donate, but invest in the learners.

We want to ensure that technology will change the lives of many children,” said Maloka.

She said they will donate 20 gigabytes per month to the school for two years.

Maloka urged parents not to feel ashamed of the condition of their children and advised them to bring their children to school as a matter of course.

School principal Ayanda Ncinane said he was grateful to the foundation and the Department of Social Development for adding the tablets to the initiative as a means to empower learners with skills.

“The uniform will boost their confidence, and they will feel proud, because the donations show that they are not forgotten.”


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