Autism parent and caregiver empowerment


Autism South Africa (A;SA) was founded in 1989 by concerned parents and professionals as a lobbying and networking organisation. It is now the recognised national body for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders in South Africa. A;SA now has representation in 8 of the 9 provincial offices with a membership of 5 422 families, schools and professionals.

Your donation will be used to upskill parents and carers in under-resourced rural communities!

Research evidence is clear that the parents and carers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) have the highest rates of parenting stress and family needs, even when compared to other developmental disabilities. The World Health Organisation acknowledges that children and families with ASD often have poor access to appropriate support and services. In South Africa, parents of children with a new diagnosis of autism get very little. If they are lucky, they receive some support from one of the local non-profit organisations. Most parents and carers get nothing.


We need to reach the neglected, under-resourced rural communities where lack of knowledge and stigmatisation causes additional stress to the affected family. A;SA receives a disturbing number of accounts of undiagnosed children with autism who are severely abused because their parents are unaware of the existence of autism. These parents do not understand their child’s behaviour; the child is considered to be “naughty”, or “deviant” and is repeatedly punished. This abuse cycle becomes a devastating downward spiral that often has severe consequences.

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