Above: Full board members, founders and Cathy Specific ( master of ceremonies) at the NDF celebration function held in 2023.
Our vision is for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental conditions from all sectors of Africa, but initially South Africa, to have access to a network of appropriate supports, in order to help them develop to their full potential.
Our mission is to provide professional services, training and support based on international best practice standards, to benefit those in Africa, but initially South Africa, with neurodevelopmental conditions and on the Autism Spectrum, who do not yet have access to such services.
When Petra Conradie and Ben Truter co-founded the Neurodiversity Centre at the beginning of 2017, their intention from the very beginning was to create a non-profit organisation that would offer parallel neuro-developmentally oriented services to under-resourced communities. In particular, they felt an ethical imperitive to bring the same level of specialised support services offered at the NDC, to environmentally-deprived communities in rural areas of South Africa. In 2018, the seeds of the vision were planted when the Neurodiversity Foundation (NDF) was registered as a NPO. The Neurodiversity Foundation was thus constituted for the purpose of creating collaborative, feasible resources for identifying and supporting children with neurodevelopmental needs and their families.
Clinical Psychologist & Clinical Director of Neurodiversity Centre
Ben Truter is a Clinical Psychologist and the Clinical Director of the Neurodiversity Centre in the Western Cape – a multi- disciplinary team-based organisation that has grown over the last five years to consist of approximately 40 Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Developmental Paediatricians and Paediatric Neurologists in 8 locations.
Ben is the appointed license-holder and primary trainer in Southern Africa for training clinicians in the use of the Diagnostic Interview in Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO). The DISCO is the flagship diagnostic assessment framework of the National Autistic Society(NAS) (UK), widely used by paediatricians, psychiatrists and psychologists in the UK and elsewhere.
Petra is a Counselling Psychologist by profession, specialising in neurodevelopmental assessment in both clinical and research settings. Having served as the first Director of Neurodiversity Foundation, she is now a member of the NDF’s working committee for service delivery in the De Doorns areas of the Western Cape. her interest lies in the planning and active delivery of clinical neurodevelopmental services and community-led intervention for children who are born with neurodevelopmental needs. her experience in this field has been driven by a belief that the needs and challenges of each chilf are unique and deserving of care, support and understanding.
OUR PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS
MEET OUR PATRONS
Dr. Judith Gould
Dr Judith Gould is the Lead Associate Consultant at the National Autistic Society Lorna Wing Centre for Autism and retired as Director of the centre in 2015. She has over 40 years’ experience specialising in autism spectrum disorders and learning disabilities. Dr Gould has published widely in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her current interest is the diagnosis of women and girls on the spectrum.
DLorna Wing and Judith Gould’s early work in the 1970’s on th epidemiology of autism and related conditions, led to the concept of a spectrum of autistic conditions. Judith, together with Lorna, set up the Lorna Wing Centre for Autism which was the first service in the UK to provide a complete diagnostic, assessment and support service for children, adolescents and adults with social and communication disorders.
Dr. Bernard Fanaroff
Dr. Bernie Fanaroff studied physics at the University of the Witwatersrand and obtained his PhD degree in Radio Astronomy at Cambridge University.
He served and the Deputy Director-General in The Office of former President Nelson Mandela, Head of The Office for the reconstruction and Development Programme, Deputy Director-Feneral of the Department of Safety and Security, Chair of the Integrated Justice System Board, Chair of the Steering Committee for Border Control, Project Director of South Africa’s Square Kilometer Array (SKA) bid and the construction of the Karoo Array Telescope.
He served in all these positions with the single focus of making South Africa stand out in the global community.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lukas Coetzee – Chairperson
Dr. Adri van der Walt – Vice Chairperson
Adele Smit – Treasurer
Noëline de Goede
MEET THE TEAM
Noëline de Goede
Noëline grew up in the Overberg region and studied Social work at University of Stellenbosch. In her career she specialised in the management of Non-profit Organisations, enjoying growing and developing small NPO’s into well-run NPO’s with excellence governance, progressive programmes and clear strategic goals.
She is truly passionate about people, animals and development. She has been married for 26 years and is the mother of a boy and girl. Her husband and both children have autism (EDA and Aspergers) and that plays a big part in her motivation and wanting to spend the rest of her career focussing on autism and neurodiversity.