The Caden Academy


Previously SNAP South, The Caden Academy is a small independent special needs school in Plumstead, Cape Town.

At 6 months old, Caden Steenveld was diagnosed with hypertonia (low muscle tone) by his paediatrician at Constantiaberg Hospital. He was immediately referred to a physiotherapist who specialises in this type of treatment, as well as a paediatric neurologist who assessed him. Caden was sent for an MRI brain scan as well as a full acoustic hearing test which came up with no additional information. From 6 months his physiotherapist worked with Caden to meet his milestone requirements which was getting him to walk. This happened at 23 months. At 2 years old, Caden spent a short time with an occupational therapist who concentrated on his finer motor skills. Due to her moving her practice and a financial strain, his parents stopped this therapy. Together with his physiotherapist, his parents decided to concentrate on speech therapy as this was an area they felt needed to be urgently addressed so that Caden could communicate. At 4 years old Caden has only developed equivalent to that of a 24 – 30 month old child as the muscles throughout his body have been affected. His speech is very limited to almost nil which is called dyspraxia. It has also been very difficult to get enroll him in a daycare centre, especially since he was unable to communicate and is also not potty-trained. His parents however found a small day-centre, close to home, with a patient, loving and caring teacher who understood Caden’s needs. Concerned about his further growth and development, his parents were advised by his paediatric neurologist that Vista Nova School would be the best place for Caden. After being almost a year on the waiting list, Caden was initially assessed in November 2010 and then had a second assessment in February 2011. Unfortunately, Caden was not accepted at the school as the school felt uncertain that he would be able to handle the learning environment which they offered.

Frustrated and at a crossroads about Caden’s future, his parents decided to contact some daycare centres recommended by the paediatric neurologist. One of the centre’s then advised his parents about a facility in Durbanville which had tutors who worked with childrens who had problems: SNAP: Special Needs Adapted Program. SNAP was developed due to the demand in the Cape Town area for specialised aid for children who require exceptional care and teaching with regard to their learning. Even though SNAP is mainly for autistic children, they also concentrate on children with delayed development. They have documented children who have come through their program who have successfully completed mainstream education

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