Ernie Els Centre for Autism, South Africa

Ernie and Liezl Els embarked on a goal, in early January 2011, to create a service that would allow lower-resourced families of children on the spectrum in South Africa with free access to effective treatment. The Ernie Els Centre for Autism (EEC) believes that every child with autism can learn and deserves access to effective education. The EEC recognizes that every parent and family member plays an important role in helping their child reach his or her fullest potential. This is done by offering families comprehensive guidance on how to use best practices in education and autism treatment to teach their child.

We thus offer two primary intervention services for parents/caregivers:


The Centre provides each family with free access to an online focused treatment tool called Rethink First. This intervention utilises Applied Behaviour Analysis principles, which has been shown to be the most effective teaching tool for individuals with autism.

Rethink First is a video-based treatment tool that shows parents, caregivers and educators how to teach a child with autism using Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). ABA treatments have the most scientific evidence proving their effectiveness and are based on breaking skills down into small teachable steps, using effective ways to help a child learn successfully and positive rewards and motivation. Rethink First provides you with a customized learning plan for your child, hundreds of easy-to follow, step-by-step video lessons and lesson plans that show you exactly how to teach your child and automated progress tracking so you can track your child's progress.

The EEC trained facilitators use this multi-faceted e-learning solution to provide customized interventions for each family. Given that the centres reach is Nationwide, EEC provides support in numerous ways, including in-centre sessions (in Braamfontein, Gauteng), as well as telephonic and Skype guidance. This is done on average every 2 to 4 weeks, with the intention of participants practicing and incorporating these skills into their daily life .

EEC services include training caregivers using structured written and video computer based guidelines, along with active role play and facilitator-caregiver-child sessions. EEC's primary goal is to help empower caregivers teach a plethora of skills-from toileting, to matching colours or throwing a ball, to comprehension skills and social understanding. Each child's progress is closely monitored, to ensure that they are receiving the most individualised and most successful support possible.

RUBI Parent Training

Many children with autism exhibit behavioral problems, including tantrums, noncompliance, aggression, and self-injury. These behaviors may not only hinder the individual’s ability to learn but may also amplify caregiver stress. EEC Facilitators thus use the RUBI Autism Network parent education program as an aid to teach parents to use applied behavior analysis techniques to manage their child’s challenging behaviors. The Els for Autism Foundation is currently accepting families into the RUBI parent training program. As part of the program you will receive:
  • 1 on 1 education biweekly sessions based on Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Development of a behavior support plan specific to your child’s needs
  • Direct guidance and feedback regarding your child’s behaviors
The program is composed of 12 core sessions, over 12 biweekly sessions (additional supplemental sessions may be added for specific problem behaviors, e.g., feeding, sleeping and toileting).

For more information on the Ernie Els Centre, please email the centre co-ordinator:

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Branch: Sandton
Branch Code: 580105
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