Unity College – A Future Created One Step at a Time

Private Property South Africa
Claire Fraser

Located in Fourways, Johannesburg, Unity College (Special Needs Education) is the leading special education school catering for learners with learning difficulties.

Situated on sixteen hectares of land, Unity College is a not-for-profit school providing premium education and support to learners between the ages of six and twenty who are moderately to severely intellectually challenged, either through genetic syndromes, epilepsy, autism or through varying degrees of mental difficulty, which may be due to a near drowning, car accident and/or other trauma. Recognising that mental disability may be accompanied by physical disability, the school offers the full spectrum of support structures for all learners to derive total benefit from their time at the school.

The vision of Unity College is to provide a world-class facility; to create an environment and build workshops and classrooms that promote the best educational advantages. As well as providing top class education and support, the school strives to offer an exceptional research facility geared at study and education on disabilities. Aimed at addressing adequate schooling for children with special needs in South Africa, Unity College (Special Needs Education) provides holistic education to as many learners as possible that will address their developmental needs. This incorporates the establishment of a funding structure that makes the facility available to impoverished and previously disadvantaged individuals.

Staff at Unity College (Special Needs Education) undergo on-going skills training and improvement, and the accredited courses offered at the school endow learners seeking employment after graduation with a formal qualification. This is complemented by an extended work experience programme, whereby children are given experience, vocational training, understanding and additional socialisation skills that will stand them in good stead upon entering the workplace and in their integration into society.

Therapists at Unity College (Special Needs Education) build on learners’ strengths and teach compensatory strategies for dealing with areas of difficulty. As therapy is integrated into class time, the effect is that it has persisting effects beyond the walls of the classroom and in other activities. These skills progress over time, with the ultimate focus being on the integration into society. On leaving school, Unity College ensures that all learners understand the choices available to them in terms of work and study opportunities.

The establishment of a Resource Centre at Unity College (Special Needs Education) enriches the curriculum and aids in support and research. It is a hub for specialists in disabled sports training, sports medicine and therapy, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and remedial specialists to name a few.

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