Autism Connect

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for individuals with autism!!
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About Us

Who are we?

Autism Connect is a Specialised Early Learning Centre for learners with autism spectrum condition (ASC). A.S.C is a neurological condition and related conditions, ID, ADHD & ADD where learners face challenges such as communicative delay, social interaction as well as sensory processing.
By creating the most conducive environment for learning, combined with the latest technological resources and tools, we hope to aid the education and development of our learners. We enrich the learning journey for them by recruiting the best and most competent teachers, specialising in inclusive education methodology and approaches.

Art is used as a medium of education to promote colour and visual aids in the learning process. We use role play and promote physical activity for the wellbeing of the child.
At Autism Connect we also promote a healthy diet as part of the development and growth
of the child and our daily menu is constantly reviewed to give the child the most nutritious
and healthy meals. We also promote facilitation and advocacy as part of our work and we
collaborate with likeminded organisations and individuals to further promote our work to
the benefit of our learners, parents, and the broader autism community.

Our Vision

Unlocking greatness in each learner through an eclectic approach of methods, which is learner specific, with the aim of reaching their full potential.

Our Mission

We serve to function as a learning and resource centre within our community. We provide a specialised early programme that is Autism specific. We aim to bridge the gap through the preparatory development of learners to a school-readiness state. Our ethos encompasses neurodiversity and advocacy of inclusion focusing on learner intervention.

Our Team

nicky profile
Nicolette Ripepi

Managing Director

Ursula Autism Connect 10
Ursula Pietersen

Programme Manager

Candice Autism Connect 9
Candice Eaton

Administrator

Theressa Autism Connect 9
Teressa Kayser

Foundation Phase Educator

Anthea Autism Connect 9
Anthea Tabanie

School Readiness Educator

Adea Autism Connect
Adea Pillay

Vocational Phase Educator

Mikayla Autism Connect 9
Michaela Dean

Teacher’s Assistant

Jaden Autism Connect 8
Jaden Wagner

Teacher’s Assistant

Anne Autism Connect 3
Ann Titus

Teacher’s Assistant

Our Board

Danielle Jonas

Danielle has served as Chairperson of the Autism Connect board since 2021.
Her skills set includes HR & Labour relations, Financial accounting and she is a Mathematics tutor for high school students.

Zaida Frank

Zaida currently serves as the outreach manager for Autism Western Cape, and brings years of knowledge and experience in this field. She was a registered counsellor for 5 years and then branched out into programme management thereafter, and has knowledge in the specialised services field. She is an Assessor and Moderator Registered with the Health and Welfare SETA.

Rosetta Cupido

I have 27 years of experience in the special needs education sector. I have fulfilled various roles as an educator, some of these include: an educator in adaptations classes at a school of skills, an educator at a special needs school and a teacher in transitionary spaces for kids with health challenges at a hospital school. Since 2013, I have fulfilled the role of principal and school manager at the Groote Schuur Hospital School. Hospital schools are my passion as there are a diversity of cases which arrive in the wards I serve, and I am given the opportunity to make marked differences in the lives of children who face initial diagnosis of chronic disease, the ebb and flow of treatment for fatal illnesses or prolonged psychiatric conditions. I can approach each and every case with a wealth of experience in the field and a persistence for resolution which I have learned through my many years as an educator and leader in special needs education

Nicolette Ripepi

Nicolette is the founder and Director of Autism Connect Learning Centre. She founded the Centre from her own house ten years ago after her son Tyler was diagnosed with autism. She has grown the Centre over the years where it currently has 25 learners, with educators and learning resources. This was initially done at her own cost as she navigated building awareness for autistic children in the community. Through her advocacy works she successfully sourced funding from the Department of Social Development and other donors. Autism Connect has become a beacon of hope for parents and children alike faced with challenges of being excluded from mainstream education opportunities. She constantly raises the plight of autistic children for inclusive education and for better resources and funds to be distributed for special needs education.

She serves honourably and unselfishly; it is through the efforts of the unselfish and committed citizens of the City that we grow into inclusive cities. Her example and hard work are exemplary, and it inspires others to act in the interest of all the citizens of our beautiful City.

Classes

Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator

The educator ensures the goals of each learner is met holistically. To ensure safety throughout the day and that children are supervised at all times. They build self esteem and comfort children, and ensure that they feel comfortable. Educators establish routines and provide positive guidance and implement positive discipline when required.

Violet -Sensory Based Classroom

Sensory based classroom. Basic tasks introduced in a sensory platform. Basic classroom rules and environment introduced but is dependent on child’s functioning. Teacher directed social interaction. Social development will be encouraged by learners working around table with teacher rotating one on one attention. Behaviour management through sensory time out until calm. Acceptance is based on average developmental age of 6 months to 2 years and progression is based on round table discussion. Majority of ADL’s are carer directed. Introduction of basic school criteria. Language and communication.

Lily - Sensory with Task​

Sensory is still part of their learning outcomes. Encourage learners to participate and engage in appropriate developmental tasks. Introduction of classroom rules and environment. Aim for social interaction is to transition from teacher directed to prompted. Majority of class activities will be based around one communal table with rotating one on one assistance. Introduction of a work station which will introduce learners to independent task engagement one at a time. Behaviour management through sensory time out for 1-2 mins/until calm. Majority of ADLs (Activities of daily living) are prompted with supervision and majority of school criteria is prompted. Encourage development of language and communication

Daisy - School Readiness​

The structure and curriculum of the Daisy Class encourages learners on the autism spectrum to develop overall independence, self-help, communication and school readiness skills while still providing for their individual needs. Its an academic based classroom environment and encourage tasks participation and to engage in appropriate level of developmental tasks. The Daisy Class encourages learners to focus on engaging with a range of activities with minimal assistance, provides opportunities for learners to engage with what meets their sensory needs and encourages social interaction at various levels. Majority of ADLs are independent with supervision with possible mastery. Develop of language and communication. The Daisy Class aims to prepare learners for the formal schooling setting. Majority of school criteria is independent.

Tulip - Pre-Vocational Class

A Class for functional skills and communication. To teach learners basic life skills in order for them to become more functional and independent. The ability to one day enter the workforce and live a productive and a self-sustainable life. The introduction of skills that carry over into the workplace can positively impact learners on the autism spectrum when it comes to cognitive development, quality of life and general well-being.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Autism? – Autism is a neurological disorder, whereby children on the spectrum face various challenges with social interaction, communication and language, sensory regulation and repetitive and restricted behaviour, which are referred to as the “4 quadrants”. The spectrum varies from low functioning to high functioning.

What are Autism Connect’s operating hours? – We are open weekdays from 07h00 to 15h00.

Does the school supply transport? – At Autism Connect we utilise an independent service provider who is contracted to Autism Connect. Upon enquiry the details will be submitted.

How do i get my child on the AC waiting list? – Click here for Admissions Process.

**Please bring these documents along: Parent’s ID, Child’s Birth certificate, Diagnosis, Doctor’s report.

What is the waiting list procedure? – After enquiring and an application being made our administrator will contact you to confirm your child’s placement on the waiting list. There after the administrator will be in contact with you. **This is a roll in process and placement will be given at any time

What does Autism Connect provide? – Autism Connect Learning Centre provides a holistic approach, we have both speech and language therapy and occupational therapy, parent and community support, e-learning and also training and parent and community workshops.

Is therapy an extra cost? – No, it is included within the school fees. However, if you would like additional therapeutic input you may access our therapist privately.

Are we open during school holidays? – Autism Connect Learning Centre operates as an ECD specialised facility, therefore we do not follow the mainstream calendar. However, we do close for 1 week in both April and June, when we have in-service training with our staff.

Do we supply a uniform? – Yes, we do. Our administrator places an order on your behalf with your request, and once payment is made, the order is processed and then delivered to the centre and then sent home to you.

Do we provide meals? –  We do provide breakfast. Learners to bring along own snack and lunch. Prior to the pandemic we were in the process of providing lunch.

(DUE TO COVID19 REGULATIONS WE DO NOT CURRENTLY OFFER ANY WARM FOODS OR FOOD THAT NEEDS TO BE HEATED)