The Association for Autism was formed in 1978 by a group of parents to assist the founding of a new school for children diagnosed with autism. Today, after many years of hard work, the Association for Autism has grown to a nonprofit entity that still respects its first school as the organisation’s foundation history. Association for Autism still has multiple other successful projects and business partners that it is busy with.
Association for Autism is now a registered nonprofit organisation that adheres to South African legislation, enabling the organisation to issue Section 18A certificates to donors.
To mobilise resources and build partnerships in order to extend access to quality lifelong services to people affected by Autism ensuring that they are meaningfully included into mainstream society.
To be a service driven organisation based in South Africa that strives to assist all people affected by Autism to effectively manage the condition and achieve their full human potential.
Main activities and services – projects / programmes / events
Association for Autism's current priorities are:
- To offer an integrated approach to ensure support, capacity building and outreach actions to beneficiaries, parents, other primary caregivers, professionals and the community at large. Efforts and Resources should not be duplicated;
- To ensure that all individuals with Autism receive applicable broad spectrum support and services;
Building relationships with stakeholders and other interested parties to advance the interest of people living with Developmental Disorders, these are:
- All tiers of government;
- The corporate social investment community;
- Other interested parties;
- To learn from international best practices and develop practical, appropriate South African solutions;
- Aligning service provision with actual needs;
- This process to be supported by relevant research;
- Relevant education, supported by a relevant curriculum and teaching methodologies, for all learners on the autism spectrum;
- Employment for adults on the autism spectrum.
Challenges / opportunities
The Association for Autism’s, and individuals with autism’s, biggest challenge is the perception of society of what disability is.
The organisation has a daily challenge to explain to people that, although autism cannot be seen, it is real and it needs similar management and guidance as other disabilities. Examples:
- Access to services
- Education methodologies
- Applicable curricula
- Assistive devices
- Assistive technologies
- Education and training
Opportunities are aligned with the organisation’s outreach and development programme, and they arise as relationships are built. This is why relationships are incredibly important at The Association for Autism – without our people we are nothing.
Impact / contribution to society
Association for Autism’s firm belief is that its main impact to society is to respect the individual. The organisation does not only focus on groups of people, but is honoured if it can walk a road with a family one step at a time, one day at a time.
Association for Autism is in the Autism Business to serve. Autism advocacy is a huge concern to the organisation, and it attempts to build capacity in this area during all its projects.
To view the Association for Autism in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.