The conversation continued today on CHUO 89.1 FM, a radio station based in Ottawa, Canada. I was honoured to be a guest on their program, Black on Black, to discuss World Autism Awareness Day.
We talked about the widespread lack of information and abundant misinformation about autism amongst Africans and the need to correct that. Educating the community about autism and its impact on families will de-mystify it and lead to acceptance and support for those affected.
All autism families face many challenges regardless of where they live. Even in the West, there is not enough access to services. In resource-poor countries, the situation is even more difficult. The lack of infrastructure and well-informed professionals mean that families often have nowhere to turn to.
The show’s hostess and I both love this year United Nations theme that puts autism within the context of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals with the key words of Inclusion and Neurodiversity. The key words are great conversation starters:
Inclusion prompts questions about where people with autism are currently being excluded
Neurodiversity is a reminder that there isn’t just one way in which the human brain is organized.
Educating the community is the most powerful tool we have to end stigma and isolation for Africans affected by autism. Acceptance and increased opportunities for people with autism will follow.