Barbra Robinson, the Primary School Principal from Orion College, comments, “Each child is unique. Sometimes, they need extra support, help, and care to reach the stars. Looking at school options with smaller classes, specialised teachers, and therapists, will help to fill the gaps so they can reach their potential. “
Before you look at any schools, tick some boxes as the schools will need this. It might help you decide on what school to choose.
- Book an eye test at an optometrist like EyeTek to check eyesight, tracking, visual integration and more.
- Check hearing at a hearing specialist for an assessment.
- Book your child to do a Psycho-Educational Assessment with an Educational Psychologist. This will identify cognitive and academic strengths and gaps based on their age.
- Book an assessment by an Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech Therapist (ST) or get a report from your current OT/ST.
- Seek advice from a Paediatric Neurologist to get recommendations on the way forward.
You can spend a lot of time going on tours of schools that don’t fit your child’s needs. Try to be clear about what you want. Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- “Traditional” school, cottage school or specialist school
- Remedial, Assisted Learning or Blended
- Is Occupational Therapy, Speech and Play Therapy available? Is this an add-on or part of the school’s offering?
- Are extra murals with a school sports field, tennis courts and swimming pool important?
- Does the school have 3 or 4 Terms, and do they align with the rest of the family?
Before you book to make a tour, ask questions about the type of school, extra murals, and the number of in-house therapists. Remember to confirm that the school is registered if you have chosen a cottage school option. Then book the tour and ask the questions that are important to you.
Top Alternative Schools in Johannesburg* with a Google Rating of >4.5
When looking at schools, chat with your Occupational Therapist or Play Therapist about your list and ask for guidance.
Orion College, www.orioncollege.co.za Randpark Ridge
Glenoaks Remedial and Special Needs School, www.glenoaks.org.za Kensington
Bellavista School, www.bellavista.org.za Birdhaven
Delta Park School, www.deltapark.gp.school.za Randburg
Japari School, www.japari.co.za Parkview
Forest Town, www.foresttownschool.co.za Forest Town
Bedfordview Learning School www.brltc.co.za Bedfordview
Omatas Learning Centre, www.omatas.co.za Fairlands
Baobab Assisted Learning Centre, www.baobablearnercentre.co.za Parktown North
Crunch the Numbers, School Fees are Expensive.
When you look at fees, work out if therapies and extra murals are included in the fees, or if there are hidden costs. Ask about the enrolment fee before you take a tour to check if it’s in budget.
Barba Robinson, the Primary School Headmaster from Orion College, comments, “At Orion, we believe therapies are a core part of what helps fill the gaps and remediates a child, which is why we have nine therapists with everything included in our school fees. That means the parent can drop their child off and pick them up after extra murals, knowing all their therapy needs have been met. There’s no need to schedule extra appointments or pay extra costs. We find this reduces the load on the family who often try to balance the needs of their other children, and family.”
Tax Rebates Can Help
You can claim a portion of your medical aid, school fees and other expenses when your child has been diagnosed with a disability. Diagnoses such as ADHD, autism, epilepsy, and dyslexia, amongst others, are included. You will need an Educational Psychologist or a Paediatric Neurologist to complete an ITR-DD form. This must be submitted to your tax consultant with supporting invoices and documentation.
Lelani Van Blerk, Managing Director at Omnilutions, talks about tax rebates, “Be a little careful when reading articles on the web. Talk to your tax consultant and financial planner when looking at school fees. The first year is the most challenging, with tax rebates offsetting some costs for year 2 onwards.”
Note: *Criteria for selected schools are based on a Google Reviews Rating of 4.5 and above with more than 8 reviews.
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About Orion College
Orion College, an alternative school that offers remediation and assisted learning, is based in Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg.
At Orion, we surround our children with a team of caring specialists to fill the gaps and help them grow. With specialised teachers and therapists who offer Occupational, Remedial, Play and Speech Therapy, we balance personalised learning with targeted support. Not only do we have small classes (between 8 to 12 children), but we also offer a range of culture, sports and enrichment activities like horse-riding and dance therapy at the foundation stage so that each child can shine bright.
Phone: 011 795 1776
Omnilutions is an agile, solutions-based financial management and administration service provider based in Johannesburg. The back-office support structure enables SMEs to focus on what they do best and hand the rest over to a specialised team of chartered accountants and administrators.