Autism Awareness Month: Min Fritz calls on society to embrace Neurodiversity
Yesterday, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, partnered with the City of Cape Town and Autism Western Cape to honour World Autism Awareness Month by launching the April installation of the Emerging Artist on First Thursday. Here, Minister Fritz called on society to embrace neurodiversity.
The exhibition titled “Artists on a Spectrum” seeks to bring awareness of Autism, provide insight into the lives of the young artists with Autism and the mediums they use to express their creative voices at the historic Sendinggestig Museum.
Minister Fritz said, “This event highlighted the works of local artists on the spectrum to include them into this vibrant economy and art scene. Such an initiative embraces neurodiversity as it demonstrates that neurological differences should be recognised as a social category on par with gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Artists on the Spectrum does this by showcasing up-and-coming artists alongside neurotypical artists.”
Minister Fritz added, “I challenge each and every single person to encourage and support neurodiversity whether at work, school or home. If recruiting, create criteria that will encourage neurodiverse candidates to apply. If your sibling or child is differently abled, assist them with tasks they might otherwise struggle with or empower them so that they are able to do tasks themselves. If a friend of yours at schools is feeling overwhelmed, help them find a safe-space to unwind and blow off steam.”
Western Cape DSD values neurodiversity and the empowerment of people who are differently abled. For this reason, the Western Cape Government has allocated R186.3 million in the 2019/20 financial year to provide services which facilitate the socio-economic empowerment of differently abled persons.
This Department has had huge increases in its services to differently abled persons since 2009. In 2009, just 120 people received specialised services. By 2018, the number of services rendered grew so rapidly that 88 000 individuals received specialised services.
Minister Fritz explained, “Over the next 5 years I plan to strengthen these services not only by providing for immediate needs, but also by making gainful employment opportunities available to the sector through strong and enduring private-partnerships.”
Under the leadership of MEC Fritz, the Western Cape Department of Social Development will continue to provide services to those most vulnerable in the province.