Demanding better education for children with disabilities

children with disabilities, children, schooling

In January, the Department of Education estimated that about 590 000 children with disabilities had no school to attend, with many placed on waiting lists for special schools. Children can be on a waiting list for up to five years.

While children with disabilities by law are allowed to go to any school of their choice, only about 120 000 children attend public schools with their peers without physical disabilities. Disability organisations are now taking a stand against the Department of Education. Autism South Africa, National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities and Down Syndrome South Africa are the complainants in a legal action against the Department.

They are being represented by the Centre for Child Law. Sandy Usswald, national director for Autism South Africa, notes: “We know from recent media reports that there are 500 000 children with disabilities out of school and this is an immediately realisable right that is being denied to our children. We are trying to collect the names and stories of as many families as possible so that we can represent them in this case.”

The organisations are calling on parents of children with disabilities to complete a short survey, which can be found here, to share their story. For more information about the case, contact Autism South Africa directly at or email the ROLLING INSPIRATION team at

4 thoughts on “Demanding better education for children with disabilities

  1. Hi I have a 12yr old son Dx ASD (ASPERGERS HIGH FUNCTIONING),ADHD, SPD, DMDD, GAD, POOR PEER RELATIONS, ATTACHMENT DISORDER AMD LEARNING BARRIERS. HE WAS DIAGNOSED IN 2015 and since been in 2 GDE Special NEEDS SCHOOLS. HE HAS BEEN ABUSED, VICTIMIZED AND DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF HIS NEUROLOGICAL IMPAIRMENTS. IT’S DISGUSTING THAT AFTER SEVERAL REPORTS TO THE VARIOUS Gde departments, they are reluctant to assist thechikd and parents to gain access to decent education and protect and promote unsatisfactory behaviour by their own.

  2. I am so happy to hear about this.. we have BEEN struggling to find a school for my son WITH down syndrome. Its heartbreaking how people in the education system in south africa views my son. And that doesn’t even include some of the hurtful andean things that are said to me about him from educators.

  3. Good afternoon

    We are reloCating to kathu, northern Cape. As far as coulD ask around there is nothing for My autistic son. Absolutely no schooling option. When phoning and asking around i was only given the answer that is No option, sorrY.

    I Want to find out How do i go about opening or starting a class that can accommodate my child and others that is in need of special schooling in that area.

    I am a qualified Foundation phase teacher with a diploma in teaching learners with autism.

    Any information and/or assistance will be greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards
    Corlie joubert

    • Hi Corlie,

      Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to assist with your request. We recommend that you speak with disability or education organisations that can provide more insights.

      You can try to contact the South Africa Disability Alliance at ( or the National Council of and for Persons With Disabilities In South Africa at 011 452 2774.

      Alternatively, try contacting the Department of Education. Although it is often frustrating to deal with government departments, they would be able to provide all the necessary information on starting a school.

      Good luck!

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