I don’t think we have ever seen anyone with such a big smile, early on Monday mornings, like the smile on little Siyabonga Nkutha’s mom, Nozizwe’s face.
Sparrow Foundation School welcomed Siyanbonga to Grade 1 at the end of January, a few weeks after the rest of the learners had started the new academic school year
As a shy boy with autism, Siyanbonga had not been able to find a school that could support his special needs. But, one month in, we have all been surprised and delighted by how well he has settled into his new school.
“My son now hates the weekend, he always says “I want to go to school today” but I have to explain to him that school is closed on weekends.
“At first Siyabonga used to cry as I left him to go to school, he was so anxious! However, a week later, his behaviour changed! He now plays with other children and tells me how much he loves to go to his beautiful school,” explains Nozizwe.
Siyabonga was referred to Sparrow Foundation School through a play therapy clinic in Sophiatown, where he was diagnosed with autism. He previously attended a local school, which specialised in supporting children with ADHD but was not given the attention that he needed. Nozizwe explained how her son was often not in the classroom, as he was teased for being different and could not cope in a mainstream school.
“We didn’t understand what was wrong with him and I had no idea what autism was.” Nozizwe told us that she found the Autism South Africa website extremely useful in providing her with information on autism. Autism, as defined by Autism South Africa (A;SA) is:
…a developmental disability… people with Autism spectrum disorder (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.
Still a relatively unknown disability, Autism makes it difficult for parents, schools and communities to support children with special learning and social needs. However there is a lot of support available.
Sparrow Schools, specialises in, and provides a safe and friendly environment for children with learning disabilities to attend school. The small classroom size and the learner support unit (LSU), which supports the child holistically, can provide additional assistance to help with remedial educational needs.
If you would like to find out more about your child attending Sparrow Foundation School, please call +27 11 482 3520.