What every parent ought to know about autism

There are many misconceptions about autism that make diagnosing and treating the disorder more difficult.

Autism SA's Thando Makapela explains that autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts on the growth and development of the brain.

Autism spectrum disorder refers to a range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.

Autism primarily affects social interaction and communication, advises Makapela.

It is known as a spectrum disorder, because it manifests itself in many different ways and to varying degrees.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Behavioural: inappropriate social interaction, poor eye contact, compulsive behaviour, impulsivity, repetitive movements, self-harm, or persistent repetition of words or actions
  • Developmental: learning disability or speech delay in children
  • Cognitive: intense interest in a limited number of things or difficulty paying attention
  • Psychological: unaware of others' emotions or depression

Makapela says that most children with autism do not cope well in large crowds, with noise or commotion.

Autism is a lifelong disorder, but it can be managed.

Thando Makapela, Regional Development Officer at Autism SA

Unfortunately, Makapela says only one in 10 parents of autistic children are well-informed and understand the disorder.

Read: Early diagnosis means early intervention, says autism therapist

Makapela emphasises that it is important for parents to educate themselves and take their children to a pediatrician for developmental assessments, if they recognise symptoms of autism.

She shared her personal experience with raising her autistic son and callers also phoned in with their stories.

Visit the Autism SA website to learn more.

Take a listen:


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Early diagnosis means early intervention, says autism therapist

Early diagnosis means early intervention, says autism therapist

Autism therapist Jenna White says autism is on the rise across the world and adds South Africans need to increase their awareness.

WC family determined to build  a safe haven for adults with autism

WC family determined to build a safe haven for adults with autism

Mother and son team up to create Mikayla House, a residential home for adults with autism, which they've dedicated to a loved one.

Occupational therapy can help all children improve their life skills

Occupational therapy can help all children improve their life skills

NiKki Bush looks at how occupational therapy can help all children improve their cognitive, physical & sensory skills

'Autism affects more boys than girls'

'Autism affects more boys than girls'

An autism school was launched by the Department of Education in Gauteng this week.

Parents warned about dangers of unregistered autism 'cure'

Parents warned about dangers of unregistered autism 'cure'

Parents with autistic children are being warned of the dangers of using unregistered and lethal drug, 'Miracle Mineral Solution'.

Popular articles
If you're caught driving with your phone, officials are allowed to confiscate it

If you're caught driving with your phone, officials are allowed to confiscate it

If the engine is running and you are sitting behind the wheel you are not allowed to operate your phone says W Cape's JP Smith

[WATCH] Zola Tsotsi drops bombshell about Zuma meeting at State Capture Inquiry

[WATCH] Zola Tsotsi drops bombshell about Zuma meeting at State Capture Inquiry

Former Eskom chair Zola Tsotsi’s jaw-dropping statements include Tony Gupta saying they could hire or fire Eskom board members.

SA fizzy drinks undergo "shrinkflation" to control sugar intake

SA fizzy drinks undergo "shrinkflation" to control sugar intake

Coca-Cola has reduced its 500ml "buddy" to 440ml and the traditional 330ml Coke cans will soon have a volume of just 300ml.

Mugabe threatened to dissolve Parliament hours before his resignation

Mugabe threatened to dissolve Parliament hours before his resignation

Deputy President of MDC says Mugabe's threats could not deter them from their mission to impeach him - they were determined.

What Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Makro will offer on Black Friday

What Shoprite, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Makro will offer on Black Friday

Up for a Springboks level scrum? Instructions on how to ensure you get the deals in your inbox the moment they become known...