On Saturday 17th May, the GUBA Foundation held its fourth awareness event. It was a fun-packed, dynamic and informative day where specialists in child behaviour & development engaged with families living with autism. It was an excellent platform to enhance awareness and support within the Black or Ethnic Minority (BME) Community.
In true event style, the Brightstars Autism Community Club amazed the audience with a barnstorming explosion of African drumming and performing arts, which set the pace for the event.
The spotlight duly turned to those living with autism, giving them a platform to share their experiences. Vanessa Bobb gave a mother’s perspective, sharing her struggles with her son’s autism and how difficulties in finding support fuelled her drive to start her own BME autism advocacy group. Nana-Ama Kyeafi spoke emotively from a sibling’s perspective, and how parents need to be just as acutely aware of those amongst their children who don’t have autism as those that do. Mr. George Ameyaw also spoke from a father’s perspective, and how his work with the Foundation has helped him learn about his daughter’s diagnosis. Jean Smith, who years after fighting for the rights of her two autistic sons discovered that she herself had autism, also shared her experience.
These well-balanced motivational and inspirational testimonials captured an attentive crowd and formed the basis for the audience to take center-stage by offering their own views. An inspirational young man with Aspergers also spoke dynamically as he encouraged those within the autistic spectrum to follow their dreams.
Experts from the world of child development delivered culturally-sensitive autism training. The child psychologist Julia Avnon, came with a mandate to speak directly from the heart. The incredible Cynthia Kulchere discussed early year’s intervention, offering very practical advice which those in attendance were very grateful for. And Patricia Okechukwu from ECS Ltd concluded by discussing ways in which parents can communicate with their kids and tackle ‘challenging’ behaviour.
Amidst the educational and motivational nuances, the Thamesmead Dynamix Youth dance group also took the stage to perform some inspirational modern dances to entertain the audience.
This autism awareness event was a tremendous success, an eclectic mix of training, networking and entertainment. The GUBA Foundation has made it a point to set up events such as this, to open a window into the lives of those who live with autism.
The GUBA Foundation has an additional workshop scheduled for August 2014. There are currently plans this year to embark on an autism awareness campaign, which will involve taking autism experts to Ghana, to offer advice and training.
If you are interested in supporting the GUBA Foundation’s current work and future plans; you can donate by:
For more information about the GUBA Foundation, please visit www.gubafoundation.org