Autism Spectrum Disorder is a term often used as an umbrella term for Pervasive Developmental Disorders as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for mental disorders 4th Edition, Text revised (DSM-IV-TR). Autism can be seen as a spectrum on which each individual that has it is somewhere on a continuum including Autistic disorder, PDD-NOS, Asperger’s disorder, Rett’s disorder and Childhood integrative disorder, as seen in the picture on the right.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability whereby those affected display difficulties in the following 4 areas (by some referred to as the “Quadrant of Autism”).

1.  Communication and language difficulties

People with autism often have a language delay or total lack of language. They often lack communicative intent, and those with adequate speech struggle to initiate or sustain a conversation with others.

2.  A narrow restricted repertoire of thinking and behaviour

People with autism often have a preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest and find it difficult if there is a change in routine. They like predictability throughout their day as this lessens their anxiety. Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms are also often prevalent.

3.  Difficulties with sensory modulation

Sensory modulation refers to how people use the information provided by all the sensations coming from within the body and from the external environment. People with autism either have hyper sensitive sensory systems or hypo-sensitive.

4.  Difficulties in relating to other people

People with autism often do not make eye contact and struggles to develop peer relationships or seeking enjoyment with others. For instance, they do not like participating in simple social play or games and prefer solitary activities.

Although statistics about the prevalence of Autism varies, Autism Western Cape estimates that 1 in 86 children in South Africa under the age of 6 years are affected by it. Autism is 4 times more prevalent in boys than in girls. You are more than welcome to contact us if you suspect that your child might be displaying some of these difficulties.

How does the Boland School for Autism reach these children?

The Boland School for Autism aims to be an autism specific school that offers education based on the needs and special abilities of the individual learner. This means that  every learners’ skills are thouroughly assessed by a team of professionals (Occupational Therapist, Educational Pshychologist, Speech Tharapist and Educators) together with the learners’ parents in order to determine every learner’s specific educational goals. This will provide the children with the opportunity to learn and grow within a social environment along with their peers – an environment that respects every child’s uniqueness and promotes learning and development. We are therefore committed to providing specialised education and facilities for our learners, as well as the continual professional training of staff to render the best service possible.

Boland School for Autism addresses the four areas of difficulties in the following ways:
1.  Communication and language difficulties

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) provides the learners a way to communicate and learn language visually. PECS is often a more understandable way to learn language through the use of pictures and symbols. Makaton sign language is used throughout the school day to make verbal instructions more visual and easier to understand.

pictured instructions, such as “Look”, “Wait”, “Sit” and “Shh” are used to clarify instructions visually.

2. A narrow restricted repertoire of thinking and behaviour

Predictability and structure forms a very important component of their day. Each learner has his ownindividual TEACCH schedule that exhibits the day’s activities.

Transitioning cards and boxes are also used to make the change in routine more predictable and easier for the learners to move from one activity to the next.

3. Difficulties with sensory modulation

Every child follows his own daily sensory “diet”, compiled by the occupational therapist
and the parents.  This diet focuses on integrating the child’s different sensory systems, and can include activities such as jumping on a trampoline, using a shaving foam sequence or water play.

4. Difficulties in relating to other people

Social skills teaching forms part of the daily curriculum, including:

  • Greeting each other in morning ring,
  • Opportunities for turn-taking and sharing of toys or food
  • Promoting social games, i.e. throwing or rolling a ball to each other, chasing each other etc.
Statistics / Facts
  • Children with Autism require specialised/individualised schooling and care.
  • One out of 88 children in South Africa and 1 out of 68 children worldwide is currently diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.
  • Only 1% of these children end up in an Autism Specific School.
  • The diagnoses are increasing by 500% per year.
  • There are 4 times more boys/men than girls/women with Autism.
  • Autism is independent of race, culture, standard of living.
  • The cause of Autism is still widely debated.
  • Caring for individuals with autism is very expensive.

Please contact the Boland School for Autism at 021 870 1430 or to make an appointment if you suspect your child might be on the Autism spectrum.

What are the possible signs?

girl siting alone Little awareness of others.
little boy crying Self-injurious behaviour, e.g. head banging, scratching or biting.
kids playing with toys Imaginative play may be poor. E.g. cannot play with a wooden block as if it is a car.
girl jumping for joy Unusual habits such as rocking, hand flapping, spinning of objects etc.
young boy speaking The development of speech and language may be atypical, absent or delayed.
friends chatting to each other Indifference to, or dislike of being touched, held or cuddled.
young child reading Minimal reaction to verbal input and sometimes acts as though he/she is deaf.
unenthusiastic boy Sense of touch, taste, sight, hearing and/or smell may be heightened or lowered.
sad boy Changes in routine or the environment may cause distress.
crying girl Sudden laughing or crying for no apparent reason
happy jumping boy Pursues activities repetitively and cannot be influenced by suggestions of change.
inquisitive boy Uneven gross/fine motor skills.
child hugging teddy bear Inappropriate attachment to objects.
frightened boy Abnormal sleeping patterns.
little girl singing Displays extreme distress and/or tantrums for no apparent reason
young girl reading Prefers to play alone.
toddlers playing Difficulty in interacting with others and little or no eye contact.
boy jumping for joy No real fear of dangers.

Possible Signs (taken from Autism Ontario – Durham Region)

  • No babbling by 11 months of age
  • No simple gestures by 12 months (e.g., waving bye-bye)
  • No single words by 16 months
  • No 2-word phrases by 24 months (noun + verb – e.g., “baby sleeping”)
  • No response when name is called, causing concern about hearing
  • Loss of any language or social skills at any age
  • Rarely makes eye contact when interacting with people
  • Does not play peek-a-boo
  • Doesn’t point to show things he/she is interested in
  • Rarely smiles socially
  • More interested in looking at objects than at people’s faces
  • Prefers to play alone
  • Doesn’t make attempts to get parent’s attention; doesn’t follow/look when someone is pointing at something
  • Seems to be “in his/her own world”
  • Odd or repetitive ways of moving fingers or hands
  • Oversensitive to certain textures, sounds or lights
  • Lack of interest in toys, or plays with them in an unusual way (e.g. lining up, spinning, opening/closing parts rather than using the toy as a whole)
  • Compulsions or rituals (has to perform activities in a special way or certain sequence; is prone to tantrums if rituals are interrupted)
  • Preoccupations with unusual interests, such as light switches, doors, fans, wheels


Location of the school
The school is located on the corner of Commercial and Nantes Street, Paarl, 7646
(right behind ABSA, across Direct Air)

School terms and times
The school follows the same terms as the Department of Education.

A normal school day is from 08:00 to 13:00.
Drop-off time is from 07:30 to 08:00.
Pick up time is between 12:30 and 13:00.

2021 School term dates
27 January – 31 March
13 April – 2 July
26 July – 1 October
11 October – 8 December

Aftercare Facility available.  Fees available from the office.

School fees
School fees are payable over 11 months monthly before/on the 7th of each month.(Jan till Nov).  Fees available from the office.

School uniform
Summer uniform:  turquoise t-shirts (with school logo) + dark blue pants.

Winder uniform:  navy blue tracksuits.
School clothes can be ordered from the office.

What should I pack in my child’s school bag every day?

  • An extra set of clothes
  • Nappies and wet wipes (if needed)
  • A healthy lunch box and cool drink for break-time as well as for aftercare
  • A message book

Do we follow a curriculum?
Boland School follows the same program as other special schools that also accommodate learners on the spectrum. Impact curriculum for children from Gr R-7 or individual education programme depending on the parents’ choice. Class divisions will be done according to ability and age, 4-7 children per class.

What else does the school offer?
Weekly kinderkinetics and social skills classes are offered. This therapy is included in the school fees.

Speech therapy and occupational therapy is offered by the school, but the parents receive a separate bill for that.
The school works with a team of therapists and psychologists. Appointments can be made through the parents or referrals can be done through the school.

How does admission work?
A child may attend Boland School for Autism, by appointment, for a 2 week evaluation period.  After the evaluation period, the school will give feedback to the parents and a decision will be made if the child will benefit from the school environment or not, whereupon admission shall take place.

Feel free to contact us during office hours at
084 610 9005  /  021 870 1430 or email us at

Banking Details
Name:  Boland Autism School
Account Type:  Nedbank Cheque Account
Branch:  Wellington Branch 102905
Account Number:  102 903 7760


How can you help?

  1. Make a donation to the school by clicking here
  2. Support "We Benefit"
  3. Apply for a "My School"-card and add Boland School for Autism as the beneficiary
  4. Donate suppliesPencils, erasers, notebooks, coloring supplies, paper, magazines, toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, empty toilet paper rolls, bottle caps, buttons, wool etc.
  5. Any materials that you can donate from the following Wish List will be much appreciated:

School Building
We are still in die process of creating a specific, autism-friendly environment for our learners.

Any financial contributions towards the salary of BSA's teachers and assistants would be greatly appreciated! We are a registered PBO organisation and therefore your contributions are tax deductable.

We want to put artificial grass on our playground (+-20m x 8 m), panel heaters, photocopier, spandex hammock, frog swing, vacuum cleaner, air conditioning for the building.

Educational materials
Stationery - e.g. play dough, paint, printer ink, pens, etc.
Reading book series (Gr.1-7) in Afrikaans and English.

Electronic equipment
Our dream is to have an interactive white board set up in each classroom. This will help the children to learn more visually and make learning easier for them!

The Apple iPad  has amazing apps available for Autistic learners - they help with communication, social skills and have wonderful motivational software available. It would be a dream come true if a company can donate an iPad for each child (we currently have 20 enrolled learners).

Sponsor a school uniform or school fees
Not all of our children can afford their school uniforms. You can sponsor a child's summer and winter school uniform.

Any financial contribution towards needs-specific materials used to foster independence and self help skills amongst our learners are always needed.

Contact Us

    Physical & Address
    Corner of Commercial and Nantes Street, Paarl, 7646
    (right behind ABSA, across Direct Air)

    Postal Address
    Corner of Commercial and Nantes Street, Paarl, 7646

    For more information or sponsorship options, please feel free to give us a call during office hours at
    021 870 1430 or email us at

    Facebook: Boland School for Autism
    NPO registration: 089-279-NPO

    Banking Details
    :  Boland Autism School
    Account Type:  Nedbank Cheque Account
    Branch:  Wellington Branch 102905
    Account Number:  102 903 7760