Quest School for Learners with Autism is the only school for learners with Autism in the Eastern Cape. It opened in Uitenhage in 1995 with an intake of just six pupils.
The Quest Hostel was established in February 1999 to accommodate learners from Adelaide, Cradock, East London, and other towns and cities in the Eastern Cape.
The school and hostel then moved to the Cunningham Building in Port Elizabeth. At present Quest School has 65 learners, of whom 14 are in hostel. The recognised educator/learner ratio is 1:6 and each group of children has a class assistant as well due to the nature of the disorder.
Autism is a lifelong and extremely complex disability that stems from a genetic origin believed to result from biochemical dysfunction of the brain. Autism occurs in four times as many boys as girls.
The incidence of Autism is radically on the increase worldwide and is now considered to affect one per 110 children under the age of six years, making it by far the most prevalent of all childhood neurological disabilities.
The Autism specific education and intervention that is provided at Quest is unique, in that each child is treated as an individual with the emphasis on an intensive, structured, consistent programme that is sensitive to the needs of each child.
One-on-one teaching is essential, with much repetition and the breakdown of tasks into many smaller steps. Also, all learners receive education in their mother tongue.