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Teach at the school of Autism

iafrivo school of autism volunteer photo
New Horizon Special School, Accra - Ghana, is a purpose built establishment started by a mother of a daughter who has intellectual disability with the support of some parents and friends from American Women Association in January 1972.
The school provides education for children and vocational training and employment for adults who have intellectual disability. Persons with other disabilities e.g. spastic, cerebral palsy, visually impaired, hearing impaired etc are also admitted so long as their primary disability is learning difficulty. Presently students aged four to forty plus years attend the school.

What is Autism?
Autism is defined as a biological disturbance in the central nervous system, which normally takes place before birth or starts before the age of three. Autism does NOT occur as a result of the environment. Global research shows that 1 out of 1000 worldwide suffer this handicap.

Children with autism do not usually have a visible handicap. They look normal, very often with a normal IQ. Autism manifests itself mainly through contact deviation - the autistic person avoids contact with everyone, including his mother. He/she does not want to be held or cuddled. The autistic child's development is characterized by: contact disturbance, language disturbance, stereotype rituals / odd interests. Autistic children may be grouped as DISTANT (seeming to live in his or her own world, without taking interest in the surroundings); PASSIVE (does not wish to be independent or take interactive action of its own); ODD (often absorbed in a single object or activity that takes up all their time and energy).

The school has 3 sections where teaching and learning are conducted:

1 Academic Section
The academic section provides basic education on an individual basis for children aged 4 -16 years. The students learn skills for life such as self-help, environmental and communication skills as they need to be helped to tell their needs and share opinions and feelings with others.
They also learn Mathematics, Reading, Writing, Art and Craft, Music, Pre vocational skills, Health and Safety, Activities of Daily Living Skills, Physical Education and Computer Literacy.
This section is aimed at equipping children to rise to their highest potentials in the academic areas. An Individual Evaluation Program is organized every year for each child and the class teachers and the parents sit in this meeting.

2 Sheltered Vocational Workshops
These give training and employment in vocational and daily living skills to those who are older. The mature students 17 years and over, some of whom are able to read and write simple sentences and have reached a moderate level of productivity, work as trainees with very little supervision. The students also receive continuous education in literacy numeracy and computers.
Items made at the workshop include:
Christmas and all-purpose cards
trays, stools and beds with woven bases
doormats, and woodwork
batik and tie-dye material
table cloths and scatter-cushions
hand sewn Ghanaian dressed dolls

3 Autistic Resource Centre
The Academic Section has classes for children with Autistic tendencies and an Autism Resource Centre, where parents receive counseling services, was started in 2002 through the help of DSI - A Danish Disability Organization. The classes have one teacher and two assistants to take the children through the individual program drawn for each child, taking their attention spans into consideration.
Autism is a Neurodevelopment Disorder that affects children within the first 3 years of life.

Our main objectives
To provide special a type of education and vocational training for children and adults with special needs.To develop each child's potential to the full so that he or she can lead productive and satisfying life. Parents are encouraged to take active part in the school's activities, and educational programs are organized for them from time to time.
Volunteers are needed though it is preferred when they have knowledge and/or experience in special education.

Volunteers are always welcome though it is preferred when they have knowledge and/or experience in special education.


1. Location:
The project is based in the capital city, Accra, with shops, banks & Internet cafes nearby. This vibrant city is renowned for its friendly atmosphere where visitors are always welcome. It's full of contrasts: from traditional culture and history to modern infrastructure.

2. About this project:
Our Flexibility and Variety enables us to match your skills and aspirations to a suitable volunteer internship programs that allows you to join us when it is best for you. There are no set start and end dates and programs run continuously throughout the year, so we can easily fit your schedule. These allow volunteers to join us on a flexible time frame in creative projects. Whenever volunteers arrive and at whatever time, we will be waiting at the airport for them with all the details for their project fully prepared. This flexibility also allows people to combine programs, to live and work with friends, and to work at the placement which inspires them most.

3. Arrival and Departure Point:
(Kotoka International Airport, Accra)

4. Working Hours:
Monday to Friday, Starting at 08.00 am
25-40 hour week

5. Transport:
Dependent on where you are staying, not more than 60 minutes travelling time. Part by commercial mini bus/taxi and part walking.


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