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2 Nov 2018

ACCORDING to popular autism website:; “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.
ASD is a developmental disability and people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely impaired.”

Against this backdrop I refer to the plight of a KwaDukuza mother whose nine-year-old son has autism and type one diabetes. He goes to a special needs school in KwaDukuza and requires help in taking insulin when required.

Her plight has gone viral on Facebook with a lot of people baffled as to why the child is allegedly not being helped? According to the Children’s Care Act 38 of 2005 (11): “Children with disability or chronic illness

(1) In any matter concerning a child with a disability due consideration must be given to (a) providing the child with parental care, family care or special care as and when appropriate; (b) making it possible for the child to participate in social, cultural, religious and educational activities, recognising the special needs that the child may have; (c) providing the child with conditions that ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate active participation in the community; and (d) providing the child and the child’s care-giver with the necessary support services.
CHILDREN’S ACT 38 OF 2005 Page 22 of 201

(2) In any matter concerning a child with chronic illness due consideration must be given to — (a) providing the child with parental care, family care or special care and when appropriate.”
In this situation, where the boy has autism and has diabetes, which is chronic, then the Department of Education and the special needs school are compelled (according to the Children’s Care Act) to help.

If the child can’t take the medicines on their own (irrespective of the medical condition) an adult should do so. In cases of a school, a parent must write a letter and give permission to the school explaining the condition, the doses, the times and how to administer so that the child takes medicines timely, correctly and in a safe environment. And a school, whether special or not, should provide a safe environment for all children.

Let us think of the child and help his undertaking of getting an education (think Bill of Rights as well) in spite of his debilitating neurological and physiological difficulties, and fulfil his destiny.

— Cllr Vernon Pillay


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