Autism is a widely misunderstood developmental disorder that is generally diagnosed in early childhood and has been the recent subject of much media and medical attention in Kenya and abroad.
While there has been a noted improvement in diagnostic and therapeutic options for children and their families in developing nations, the attention placed on the same in Kenya and other developing nations is underdeveloped and inadequate at best.
Autism Lights Inc, an organization based out of Boston, Massachusetts was founded to create Autism awareness, acceptance and to help improve access to resources and treatment/management options especially in Kenya. Amongst those working towards these goals is Dr. Lincoln Kamau (Kenyan Bred/Boston Based), BCBA-D, who is Kenya’s only Doctoral level, Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Earlier this year, on World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Lights held an Autism awareness event that was free and opens to the public at the All Saints Cathedral Church, Nairobi. This event had celebrities such as Collo, Dj Mo, Nazizi, JuaCali, MOG, Sleepy David (from the Churchill Show) and others who are in support of Autism Awareness. In addition, Dr. Kamau, who spearheaded a team of Autism experts that included Pooja Pensar (Kaizora Consultants) and Dr.Isaiah Khang'ati, both based in Nairobi, gave seminars and answered questions on Autism for parents and loved ones affected by this disorder.
As an off shot of that event, the team realized that more is needed to address the social attitudes, inform parents and teachers on diagnostic practices, educational opportunities, and government intervention programs available for Autism treatment in Kenya.
The booklet “A Parent’s Guide on Understanding Autism: for Kenyan Parents” presented by Autism Lights, is the first guide of its kind in Kenya. It discusses what Autism is, includes the signs and symptoms, the cause of Autism and various treatment approaches.
The booklet also has a section that can assist the families affected by Autism to map out a strategy for interventions once they suspect their child has Autism, or after their child gets a confirmed diagnosis of Autism.
Additionally, the booklet has compiled a list of resources available for parents in Kenya where they can seek help for treatment. Autism Lights has also assembled a group of volunteer Autism professionals including BCBAs in the United States who are willing to donate their time and expertise via distance phone/video consult to those in need.
Dr. Kamau who was the Team Leader for this project, notes that this booklet could not have been possible without the input of a group of parents of children with Autism that include: Doreen Katha, Jennifer Mbogo, Trixie Pujol, Naomi Kiemo, Kimani Alice, Alice Mundia and Karay Blue (Singer/Songwriter-that recently released the free Autism Visual Album presented by Autism Lights). These parents and activists in Autism have been at the forefront of the budding Autism movement in Kenya.
This booklet will be available free of charge on October 22nd 2016 at Educational Assessment and Resource Centers in every district headquarters. The Launch will be at the St Patrick’s Special School in Thika and is presented by Autism Lights Inc in conjunction with ASD Self Help Advocacy Group. Every district in Kenya has one Assessment Centre attached to District Education Office. These are centers where parents and loved one of individuals with disability can learn, get information, or counseling and support for the disabled including Autism. In Nairobi, this booklet will be available at all three assessment centers, KISE (Kasarani), St. Anne’s Primary School (Eastlands) and Kenyatta National Hospital.
Check out the Photo of the Book Launch Photos Below!!!
The booklet can also be received as a virtual copy by simply emailing a request for a FREE COPY via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.