Open Day invitation to Cape Mental Health’s Special Education & Care Centres

Cape Mental Health invites the parents of children with intellectual disability, community members and businesses to attend an Open Day on Friday, 8 March at our three community-based Special Education & Care Centres (SECCs) in Heideveld, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha.
The SECCs cater for the special needs of more than 180 children with severe and profound intellectual disability who live in poorly resourced communities in the Cape Town Metropole by providing a comprehensive programme developed to meet the special needs of each child.
Programme manager Mpilo Khumalo says that the core reason for the Open Day is to show parents, community members and businesses what Cape Mental Health stands for and why we are in their communities every day, fetching children who would otherwise be left at home with no interaction.
“Anyone is welcome at the Open Day event,” he says.
The WCED has started to admit children with severe to profound ID at some schools as a pilot, sadly, most children with severe to profound intellectual disability have not been integrated into and are therefore denied the benefits that the Department of Basic Education (DBE) provides to learners attending State-run schools. By being excluded from the national learner database, they are excluded from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP), the Integrated School Health Programme (ISHP), and exemption from paying school fees.
Cape Mental Health supports the advocacy movement to realise the Right to Education court ruling of November 2010. Dr Ingrid Daniels, the organisation’s CEO, is one of four representatives who were sent by the Western Cape Education Department in 2023 to meet with a new Technical Task Team established by the National Department of Basic Education. The team has been tasked to implement a strategy for the inclusion of learners with severe to profound intellectual disability (CSPID) and the provision of funds for the infrastructure, staffing, and transport needed to achieve this goal.
The SECC Open Day will share vital information about intellectual disability and the services provided by Cape Mental Health. The event is one of the activities in this year’s Intellectual Disability Awareness Month (IDAM) to raise awareness about intellectual disability, showcase the services available to children and adults living with intellectual disability, and break down the stigma of mental disability. The theme for this year’s IDAM Campaign is “I am not my disability – see my ability!”
The SECC Open Day will run from 10:00 until 14:00 on Friday 8 March. Whilst the learners leave for home at 13:00, visitors will still be able to visit the centre and engage with staff until 14:00. The staff at the centre will show everyone around the premises and explain the specialised curriculum adopted at our centres, and how children learn through play, repetition and, sensory stimulation.
Please contact the centres directly if you would like to visit any of the centres:

  • Heideveld Special Education & Care Centre, corner of Zuurberg and Guardian Roads, Heideveld: 021 879 3370
  • Imizamo Yethu Special Education & Care Centre, A401 Zodiac Street, A Section, Khayelitsha: 021 879 3376
  • Erika Special Education & Care Centre, 11 – 12 Spreeu and Canary Streets, Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain: 021 879 3369

For more information, please visit https://capementalhealth.co.za/ or contact the PR and Communications Officer Barbara Meyer at 061 043 1298 or 082 897 8176 or by emailing barbara.meyer@cmh.org.za. Cape Mental Health is an award-winning organisation, recognised at national and international levels for our innovative mental health services to persons with emotional adjustment problems, and those with mental disability (intellectual and or psychosocial). We provide a range of accessible services to assist anyone living with a mental health condition in the Cape Metropole.

Useful information for the media: Four out of every 100 South Africans are affected by some level of intellectual disability that can range from mild (slow learners) to profound (those with the inability to walk, talk, feed themselves or use the toilet independently). People affected by intellectual disability are not ill and cannot be cured (though the disability may have been caused by an illness such as meningitis). Many require lifelong care or support.

Intellectual disability is described as a neurodevelopmental disorder which occurs during the developmental period and impacts intellectual as well as adaptive functioning across social, cognitive and practical domains. People living with an intellectual disability can have difficulty acquiring life skills, coping with challenges, and grasping complex issues they encounter in their lives, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

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