ASHO is currently working to:
- Continue to offer a supportive center where individuals with ASD and their families and caregivers can find guidance, information and referral services. We provide a sense of community, where families can find comfort and companionship.
- Expand our comprehensive education program for Bangladeshi immigrant parents. In 2015, we conducted a focus group among Bangladeshi immigrant parents in Queens, New York to collect qualitative data about their understanding of autism, resources available, and strategies they use to help their children. Based on this study, we created an education program for parents that allows them to share their ideas, engage with similarly situated community members in a safe and confidential environment, and enables them to tackle the social and cultural stigmas associated with ASD through education and connection.
- Advocate at the local and state levels to implement changes in systems where improvement is needed so that all of those affected by autism may live a high quality of life. In support of this mission, we consistently and strategically engage community leaders, stakeholders, funders/donors, and experts to enhance and support our cause.
- Plan for a future habilitation program for children and youth with autism that combines independent living skills with vocational rehabilitation training. We are currently exploring Early Intervention models and discussing independent living models with several experts to develop this program.
- Continue to spread awareness through newsletters, various speaker conferences and other outreach methods with a very special focus on the immigrant community.
- We help obtain guardianship of intellectually or developmentally disabled individuals. Our organization and volunteers help with filing and proceedings to make decisions for your 18-year old child in times of medical emergency.
As autism is not typically a visible physical disability, the general public are quick to condemn “odd” behavior. They assume a child with autism is just being naughty or the parents are not adequately controlling their child. Consequently, many parents avoid taking their children to public places rather than risk the behavior difficulties and resulting public judgment when their child becomes anxious. The reality is that many people respond by staring with seeming disgust or pity, husbands blame wives and mothers feel shame and guilt. In many families the news of a child being diagnosed with autism can prove to be extremely traumatic. Caring for an autistic child can be a tremendous emotional, financial and physical strain. It is our goal at ASHO to aide the Bangladeshi American families facing this extraordinary challenge by offering a toolkit for parents in their native language.
To deal with the first blow of diagnosis, Autism Speaks created an extensive toolkit for parents called Autism Speaks 100 Days Kit (available in different formats depending on age of child at diagnosis). It is very informative and useful material, but only originally available in the English language. Autism Speaks recently partnered with the Korean Community to research the cultural adaptation and translation of the Kit into Korean for the purpose of improving ASD diagnosis, assessment, and interventions in the Korean population. The research showed that a systematic approach to cultural translation of the Kit is more effective than a literal translation. Cultural modeling yields information about numerous barriers to care and provides more understanding of the Kit.
Since cultural adaptation made the tool so effective for the Korean community, ASHO is going to work with Autism Speaks to adapt the TOOLKIT into Bangla for the Bangladeshi community and start distribution in the NYC area. With approval from Autism Speaks, it will also be posted on the ASHO website. To meet the costs of cultural adaptation and distribution of the materials throughout the NYC area, ASHO is commencing a diverse program of fundraising. Please contact us today to learn more or to make a donation!
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