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.