Autism on the increase

Posted in Latest News

Klerksdorp Midweek, Potchefstroom - The number of children diagnosed with Autism is believed to be on the increase and one in every 68 children are affected by the disorder.

Studies have shown that Autism in children can be more effectively managed when detected early.

The Institute for Psychology & Wellbeing at NWU’s campus in Potchefstroom is helping to raise awareness by hosting its second Autism Symposium on 29 and 30 June, focusing on autism awareness and effecting change.

This year’s symposium follows on the very successful 2016 symposium for healthcare providers, educators, social workers and pa-rents.

According to Hanlie Degenaar, speech and language therapist at the NWU, the large number of registration applications received for last year’s symposium confirmed the need for this important symposium.

The 2017 symposium, which the NWU and Autism South Africa are jointly hosting, is another chance for stakeholders to come together to connect, share and learn from experts.

The impressive line-up of experts includes Sandra Usswald, national director for Autism South Africa; Dr David Griessel, pediatric and neurodevelopment specialist; Dr Carla Groenewald, specialist child and adolescent psychiatrist; Prof Juan Bornman, Director of the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication; Thembeka Mnguni, a pa-rent and popular contestant on The Voice 2016; Christel van Eeden, executive director of North West Mental Health; Marie Schoeman, chief education specialist for inclusive education at the Department of Basic Education, SA Guide Dogs and Thando Makapela, regional development officer at Autism South Africa.

There will also be many specialists and researchers from various universities in South Africa, and parents.

Topics range from causes, mechanisms, treatments, accommodation strategies and empowerment to communication tips, people games and routines, among others.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are 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. Some people with ASD need high support (a lot of help and intensive intervention) while others need low support.

For more information, contact the NWU’s Institute of Psychology & Wellbeing on 018 299 1739 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..