Breaking Down Barriers
Imagine feeling that a diagnosis of autism for your child was a death sentence, or in some cases, worse than one. Unfortunately, this is the case in Ghana and many countries around the world due to lack of education and awareness about the condition. The local understanding in these cases is that people with autism were in fact “taken by bad spirits” spreading fear and misinformation in many of these communities. (Pinney, n.d.)
“Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.” (Autism Speaks, n.d.) Over 70 million people in the world have autism, and 85% of them live in developing countries.
For February’s Jeans Day we are choosing to support The Global Autism Project. The Global Autism Project is a nonprofit organization that partners with developing countries around the world to focus on training and helping both adults and children with autism. Their mission is to empower through education and hands-on training to create lasting change in communities. The Global Autism project offers a large return to their organization with 81% of the money raised by them going directly to the programs they provide like the International Partnerships, SkillCorps, and Professional Training & Development.
The International Partnership program cultivates lasting change and community outreach worldwide. Through the SkillCorps program, trained professionals volunteer to travel to partner sites in order to promote collaboration, communication, and cultural consideration within the field of Autism education. The volunteers train teachers in other countries to teach children with autism, educating them in evidence-based teaching methods. Our team member Kathy Bancroft’s daughter, Allison, is one of these volunteers. The R.A.I.S.E program models gainful employment opportunities and neurodiversity in the work place for professionals and adults with autism. (Pinney, n.d.)
The Global Autism Project services ten countries so far and is well on its way to achieving its goal of establishing centers of excellence in 20 countries by the year 2020. (Pinney, n.d.)
For more information please visit www.globalautismproject.org or email Allison at [email protected] For resources and more information on autism you can visit https://www.autismspeaks.org Be on the lookout for our team wearing jeans on Friday, February 22, in support of this great cause!
Pinney, M. (2015). Founder's Story. [online] Global Autism Project. Available at: https://www.globalautismproject.org/founders-story/ [Accessed 6 Feb. 2019].
Autism Speaks. (n.d.). What Is Autism? | Autism Speaks. [online] Available at: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism [Accessed 6 Feb. 2019].