Ernie Els New Autism Learning Centre in South Africa
Ernie Els is launching the first ever ‘Ernie Els Computer Learning Centre' in South Africa. The Centre will provide FREE access to a well-researched, highly effective web-based learning and development programme with one-on-one guidance from a trained professional for families with children on the autism spectrum. A new study concludes that less than 11 per cent of children with autism in South Africa are currently receiving any beneficial intervention strategies.
Els for Autism USA and Els for Autism SA are partnering with Autism South Africa to create the prototype Centre in the Johannesburg Headquarters of Autism South Africa. "We're acutely aware that the majority of families in South Africa do not have enough money for food, much less the funds to access specialized education for their autistic child." said Ernie Els. It was five years ago that Ernie and his wife Liezl received the diagnosis of autism for their son, Ben. Since then the Els' have worked tirelessly to change the conversation about what should be available to those on the autism spectrum. They are currently planning a catalytic philanthropic project, The Els Center of Excellence (a computer rendering is pictured above) which will be built in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA. The Center of Excellence will include public charter school education for 300 students, medical and professional services, research, transition to adulthood and a major global digital learning program. "Our goal is to connect families all over the world with best practices for their children on the autism spectrum." said Liezl Els.
The new Ernie Els Computer Learning Centre in South Africa is the first international Centre linking with the digital learning programme aspect of the Florida Center. The software treatment program is licensed from US based RETHINK AUTISM. It is designed for parents and professionals and offers a comprehensive curriculum, individualized assessment tools, staff and parent training modules, data tracking/progress reporting and ongoing professional support options.
The child's strengths, weaknesses and developmental stages are entered into the RETHINK programme that personalizes an intervention strategy for the child. The attending educator will then ensure that the parent fully understands the intervention strategy he/she must follow with their child until their next session in the Els Learning Centre. When the parent returns for the next session, the programme will provide a questionnaire to establish the improvement in the child's skills, whether the child can move on to the next stage of the required developmental path, or if the expected results have not been obtained in the interim period, an alternative approach is provided.
To ensure optimum benefits of this approach within the context of South Africa, two terminals will initially be installed at the Autism South Africa Headquarters in Braamfontein as a pilot program. An educator will work with two families per hour. Once it is confirmed that this programme has positive benefits for South African children with autism, Ernie and Liezl will gradually open additional Els Computer Learning Centres around the country particularly in the peri-urban and rural sectors.
For additional information please contact:
Claire Youngman, Centre Manager
Telephone: 27 (0)11 484 7254