Walk for autism nears end in Port Alfred


Undertaking a sponsored walk from Port Edward to Port Alfred to raise funds and awareness about autism, local dad Ralph Kirsten and his friend Hardy Hofmeister have shared snippets of their journey so far.

The journey has led the Autism walk through Kayser’s Beach, a small village on the shore of the Indian Ocean, 35 kilometres southwest of East London in the Eastern Cape

After sustaining some injuries on their sponsored walk for autism, Hardy Hofmeister and Ralph Kirsten handed the reins to Jakes Oosthuizen two weeks ago.

Last week, Oosthuizen had been fighting the south easterly winds and very cold conditions and passed Haga Haga, Cefane River and Bosbok Strand and was in the Cintsa area, continuing south towards East London and onto Fish River, where Kirsten plans to meet him and walk the last few days into Port Alfred

Oosthuizen has continued with the walk to highlight intervention for children with Autism and has neared Fish River.

Local dad Ralph Kirsten and his friend Hardy Hofmeister with Jakes Oostehuizen at the reins have almost completed their fundraising walk for Autism awareness and are due in Port Alfred on Saturday. Kirsten’s son, Noah has been the main motivation for this journey

Along the way he has made many friends, fished with locals and camped in very hospitable folk’s yards!

Ralph Kirsten is met with Oostehuizen at Fish River on Wednesday and then took off to the walk from Fish River, passed Kleinemonde, Riet River and onto the Kowie River and Port Alfred.

The plan is to arrive in Port Alfred at West Pier by Saturday afternoon, which would bring to a close the first of these fundraising walks.

If anyone is interested in joining for the last section of this walk, we will meet at Riet River mouth between 8 and 9am on Saturday and walk through to the Kowie River and Port Alfred.

Noah’s grandmother who is 72 did her own fund-raising walk with friends and family in Bonnie Scotland last weekend, walking 22 kilometres and raising over eight thousand rand.

The response has been deeply moving we could never have imagined the support we would have received. From strangers to family everyone has rallied round.

Will a child ever grow out of Autism?

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD) firmly believes that recovery from Autism exists with the right treatment approach.

Although it cannot guarantee that every child will recover from autism, research has shown that children who start intervention early, and receive a high intensity number of hours per week of applied behaviour analysis instruction for at least a few years achieve the most significant gains.

For those we consider recovered, we mean the following:

  • The child is in a regular education placement, is receiving passing grades and no longer needs specialized support
  • The child scores average to above average in standardized assessments related to language, intelligence, socialisation, and daily living skills
  • A medical doctor or psychologist experienced in diagnosing autism concludes that the child no longer qualifies for any diagnosis in the autism spectrum

While recovery is possible for a number of individuals affected by autism, it is not the single goal in intervention.

The goal for all clients, regardless of age, is to help them achieve the most they can, be independent as possible, and lead happy and fulfilling lives.

If you would like to support Ralph’s Autism Awareness Walk you can donate online at


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Walk for autism proves a tough challenge

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