Bold Challenge to Raise Awareness for Children with Autism
Our little boy Noah who is 3 years old, suffers with autism and requires immediate intervention with specialized therapy if he is to be in with a fighting chance of gaining the life skills he needs to operate day to day.
Children with an autism diagnosis are skills deficit in the main areas of developmental (including language and communication, social relatedness, fine and gross motor, academic, adaptive and executive functioning).
1 in 68 children now are diagnosed with autism or an autism related disorder. To raise funds and get Noah the help he needs his father Ralph Kirsten and his good friend from Namibia Hardy Hofmeister will be undertaking a sponsored walk from Port Edward to Port Alfred over 600km,“unassisted” to raise awareness for early intervention for children with autism. As well as using the walk to symbolise the life that Noah and all children with autism face, “a long and difficult road”. Camping wild and carrying everything they need it will be a challenge and a test. We estimate it will take in the region of 3-4 weeks to complete, this is covering bet 25-30km per day.
Currently the Eastern Cape has nothing in place to assist or support children on the autism spectrum, they are often left at home with no chance of therapy or an appropriate education.
There is hope, but it has to be paid for, the teaching methodology implemented at The Star Academy is based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). ABA is an evidence based treatment and has over 30 years of research in support of it being a successful methodology with children on the autism spectrum. Expertly trained staff have received very specific training in childhood development and ABA.
Research illustrates that the intensity of the program is important to ensure success and because of the number of hours of one-on-one the children require; the cost of the program becomes unaffordable to many parents. In the USA, ABA is funded and approved in 44 States by medical insurance, but unfortunately, this is not yet available to South African parents. The financial burden on the parents to raise and educate a child with autism is astronomical as many parents try their best to raise the money to provide their children with the much-needed ABA education program. These children do not have the skill set to function as human beings and often struggle to communicate their most basic of needs.
If you would like to support Ralph’s Autism Awareness Walk please donate.This walking expedition will commence on 1 July 2017 and we do this in solidarity with our youngest Kirsten family member as well as to raise awareness of early intervention for children with Autism.