I am working to connect with Black African families who have a child or loved one with Autism. Being of African descent, it is difficult for us to talk and share our experiences about Autism on a wide scale. Some families don't feel empowered to share their stories for various reasons (i.e. immobility, shame, lack of resources, other family pressures, income, etc.), although these families are in dire… read more
I live in Prince George’s County and I find that it isn’t just the African Families, but many African American Families too have a very difficult time with this. Over the years I have had to reach out toward Howard and Montgomery Counties for support. Recently my sons school started a parent group and that has begun to draw people in. School based seems to be the most successful way to go.
Immobility? I am not sure if holding a meeting somewhere would help - without special child care in place; if not, you might need to go directly to the family somehow. Perhaps if you had flyers at Dr's offices and had interested parents come to you? You would need to figure out what you offer and you would need to figure out if you wanted to go to strangers homes - if there would be a danger associated with that. However, if the parents get out to an office to see a Dr, they can probably get out to go to a meeting depending on the severity of their child. You should put pictures of the meeting space on your flyer so kids can feel more comfortable knowing what will be there. You may need to provide specialized care to keep the children entertained while the parents are discussing concerns. I know care for my son runs all week long with breaks only on Tuesday and Friday - so scheduling of families needs to be considered. You may want several meetings once a month or every other week on different days to accommodate different schedules. Once you meet people in person, you could offer Skype meetings or other ways for people to meet while not leaving their home. It depends on how involved you are wanting to be, and resources available to you. If you want something permanent for a community, you may want to research making a non-profit organization to help others. Although it won't limit your expenses, it may allow you to write off expenses due to tax breaks and deductions.
Best of luck on your journey! The best way to figure it out is to go to the source and ask them how they would want things.
Show them autism isn't something to be ashamed of. Talking about it with an open and honest mind is a great approach.
@A MyAutismTeam Member, your words touched me. I am scheduled to visit my family in Africa this summer and just thought to supplement my trip with photos and home videos of my brother. He won't be on the trip, so the least I could do is facilitate his interaction to share with my family back home who haven't seen him for many years. Let me know what you think about it.
@A MyAutismTeam Member you are right. Most families who self-identify Black aren't empowered to speak out which isn't my family's narrative but there are other factors. I am intrigued by your son's school taking initiative on this. I am not plugged into any of the schools in the Metro area. Would you be willing to provide further information about it? Do you have any contacts at Howard or in MC? I wouldn't want to stretch myself out at the moment but would love to have names in my contacts including yours!