Newspaper Craft Group – East London

There’s a newspaper craft group which meets every Saturday at Sinethemba School for Autism in East London. This group, however, is comprised of young adults, all of whom have autism.

The group was started when Antoinette Bruce Alexander, Autism South Africa’s Regional Development Officer for the Eastern Cape, mom to an 18 year old young man with autism, and also owner of the Sinethemba School for Autism in East London, came to the Johannesburg School for Autism and saw the beautiful newspaper crafts that had been created by the students at the Johannesburg school.

Antoinette contacted Lungi, who runs all the training, and Lungi was soon flying down to East London on Saturday mornings to train Antoinette, other parents as well as the young adults. Their training lasted for 4-6 hours on a Saturday – this took four months. The group getstogether every Saturday afternoon at Autism Sinethemba (Antoinette’s pre-school for children with autism) where they sit and create their beautiful creations.


The number of young adults and their parents or care givers have grown over the last year and the hope is to expand the group to help more young adults to learn new skills and through their own work, earn money.  The aim is to make them as independent as possible. 90% of money made goes to the young person who made the article that was sold, 10% comes back to the project for buying more supplies or paying for our stall at any market (normally a charge of R100.00).

At the end of last year, they hosted their first stall at the Maren Oppie Plaas market. The market last year was not as successful as the group had hoped for, however it was their first one and some valuable lessons were learnt.

“The market in December was not very well attended, there was a lot going on in East London at the time and being two days before Christmas, it was relatively small with only a few bags and goodies sold.  It is a new experience for all of us and I am sure we will do much better in future.  It was also an afternoon/evening market, we needed to take little lights to light up our stall and by 4:30 the weather closed in and the rain started, then everyone packed up and left.  It was miserably cold and wet.  We cannot do anything about the weather, so we said goodbye to the market and we will try again with a few markets this year. 

“We wish Antoinette and all the young adults who participate in this group all the very best! If you would like to find out more about this initiative you can contact Antoinette directly – or 072 678 2452


Special Knead Cafe – Kyalami

Kim Rundle’s daughter is 21, has autism, is semi-verbal, dyslexic and cannot read. Many of you may read that, and be immediately confronted with thoughts of feeling sorry for Kim and her family. No need to pity the Rundle family. Instead, Kim has tackled the differences in her daughter head on, and decided, with two other moms to open up a café.

Initially this all started, when Sammi, her daughter started working at Kyalami Doggy Day care, situates at 123 Maple Road Kyalami. Two years ago, Sammi completed her puppy training certificate, and is now a puppy trainer at the day care centre. The owner of the business, another special needs mom, Tamara Coumbis, originally opened the business to help her son.

Amongst these incredible young people, is also a pastry chef, also with special needs. And, so Kim, and Chris’s mom (the pastry chef) Jenny Emslie, are now in the process of opening the second part of the business “Special Knead Café”. Chris has been practising and perfecting his skills for the last year and selling his beautiful products from home.

This initiative was set up because of the incredible need for employment and to showcase these incredible young adults potential.

However, while these businesses have got wonderful people behind them, and adults who are dedicated to their work, there are a few items that the café still needs. They are looking for funds to be able to sponsor barrister training for their adults, as well as wooden tables and chairs – because, what’s a coffee shop without a beautiful area to sit in. A cold drink fridge for those incredibly hot summer days. An industrial coffee machine and coffee as well as ingredients and an industrial pastry roller so Chris can keep making his beautiful pastries. And lastly, a water filter.

The next phase of the business is to add an extension to the current building, where Chris will have a proper industrial kitchen – but not just to make and sell, but also to teach other like-minded young adults how to bake. And eventually the idea is to have the same type of coffee shop in each city throughout the country.

We think this is already a phenomenal achievement, and are so excited to keep you all up to date with their successes as a special needs business and their achievements! If you would like to find out more information, you are more than welcome to contact Kim on 0824151283 or


School Placement Process

It’s coming up to the end of the year, and we are getting many frantic phone calls and emails from parents regarding school placement for 2018. So, we have put together a how to guide for getting your child into an autism specific school.

For starters your child will need to have received their diagnosis from a qualified medical professional – this–needs to be a psychiatrist, an educational psychologist or a developmental paediatrician. There are also neurodevelopmental clinics at certain government hospitals that will be able to assist you if you are concerned.
Once you have the diagnosis, make sure that you have a letter from the doctor confirming the diagnosis. Without this you are going to struggle to get your child into a school. You will also need this letter to apply for any government grants, tax benefits and medical aid cover.

Now that you have the diagnosis, and if your child is of school-going age – 6 years old, you can apply for school admission. The process works a little differently in each province, however Gauteng is really trying to make the process as seamless for parents as possible. This is also to try and get children off waiting lists and to reduce the amount of time children have previously spent on waiting lists.
Step 1: Approach the district that is closest to where you live or work. (For district details, click here)
When you go into the district, please make sure you have all your paper work with you. This will include the following:

• Your I.D Document
• Your Child’s Birth Certificate
• Letter of Diagnosis
• Proof of Residence
• Letter Confirming Your Work/Employment Address
• Any Therapy Reports

Step 2: The district will conduct their own assessment – this is to determine the support needs of your child which will help them make a better decision regarding the school your child needs to be placed at.

Step 3: The district will then let you know the name of the school your child has been placed at.


Doctors, therapists and any other professionals are not supposed to send parents/caregivers directly to schools – parents please need to approach the district of education for school placement.

This is the process for the Gauteng Province. For other provinces, please contact our Regional Development Officers – details here; or for the Western Cape, please contact Autism Western Cape here.


For private schools, parents may contact the schools directly. The above process is for government schools.