Diasporian News of Sunday, 20 October 2013
Source: GUBA Foundation
They say it’s good to talk and GUBA Foundation’s Autism Awareness seminar on 12 October proved just that.
Autism experts, parents and youngsters living with the condition were amongst 150 people who shared their knowledge and heart-felt experiences at Camberwell’s Vic Watson Conference Centre, Walworth Methodist Church.
Discussions centred on how parents can access financial and legal aid, boost their support systems and connect with grass roots organisations. The event also touched on the controversial MMR vaccine and the benefits of speech therapy for autistic youngsters.
Personal testimonials from parents and siblings often ostracised from their families or communities highlighted the need for people to boost their emotional support networks, and challenge some of the more deep-seated views people associate with autism.
Autism is a lifelong development condition which affects how individuals relate to others and their social environment.
Attendees heard from a single mother who resisted extreme pressure from family to abandon her autistic baby son. Another parent broke down as she explained her current battle with the council to secure a suitable school for her son.
But the event also showcased success stories. Jean Smith and Anya Ustaszewski both live with the condition and have turned what some see as a disability into a major strength.
Jean, who is a mother of four including two autistic children, talked about her campaigning work and urged parents to keep informed of their rights as carers.
Anya’s presentation provided unique insight into perceptions of autistic women and honed in on how many have successfully developed coping mechanisms to live within society.
“The impassioned testimonials from parents reinforce the need for charities such as the GUBA Foundation in providing the first tools towards knowledge-building and personal empowerment,” the charity’s founder and CEO Dentaa said. “Working within the Ghanaian and wider black communities, our aims is to dispel the myths often associated with the condition and encourage carers to know their rights and exercise them.” Autism affects one in every 100 people in the UK, which means that over 100,000 people living with the condition come from black or ethnic minority (BME) communities. People from the BME community are typically diagnosed later than the British indigenous population and tend to face more of an uphill struggle trying to seek support. Based on the success of the event, GUBA Foundation will be staging more seminars in the new year and plans to take its campaign to Ghana during 2014. If you would like to support GUBA Foundation’s work, you can donate a maximum of £10 by simply texting the word GUBA00 followed by the amount to 70070 e.g. GUBA00 £10 Advert link:http://youtu.be/zFard1sUFm8 For more information about the GUBA Foundation, please visit www.gubafoundation.org