SNAP was developed due to the demand in the Cape Town area (South Africa) for specialised aid for children who require exceptional care and teaching with regard to their learning and development. As the waiting list for children to be assessed and enrolled at the schools for learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) grew, the necessity for early intervention became evident.
Annalies van Rijswijk, an experienced senior teacher, as well as the leading teacher of the junior section at the Vera School for learners with ASD, was requested to develop a home program for children on their waiting list. She was also responsible for administering and monitoring this program, as she is a firm believer in early intervention for a better prognosis. The program was aimed at enabling children to progress while still being on the waiting list and, simultaneously, providing the support parents so desperately needed.
The parents were encouraged to become involved as partners as well:
- They were taught the intervention techniques
- They participated in the planning of the program
- They felt they were doing something positive for their child
- Their involvement resulted in insight and understanding of the ASD syndrome and their child.
- They were all impressed with the progress their children made.
At the same time the need for a personalised one-to-one approach with more immediate results arose, due to the fact that the pupil-teacher ratio in the classes at the specialised schools increased.