Arthur’s Dream Autism Trust (ADAT)

One of the biggest gaps that exist in Kenya, in specific regards to autism, is parental knowledge on what autism is and how to help their children manage their diagnosis.
Web Md describes autism as a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors. Because of the range of symptoms, this condition is now called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It covers a large spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment. ASD ranges in severity from a handicap that somewhat limits an otherwise normal life to a devastating disability that may require institutional care.

In kenya, the appearance of autism within a family may be met with suspicion and a lot of fear. Many cultures believe that for a disability to be present, the mother must have done something wrong before or during her pregnancy. The stigma faced by these mothers often causes them to hide their children from the public and therefore become very isolated. There is also a large gap in availability of resources and services we often see in western countries. This therefore means that parents are left at the mercy of the internet and many acquire knowledge on autism by passing information to each other on what works or does not work.

ADAT Foundation’s mission is focussed on increasing the body of knowledge on autism available to African mothers, by providing easy ways for parents to gather and hear from experts. These experts may be doctors who diagnose and help autistic individuals manage their diagnosis to Special Education teachers and therapists.

In August of 2018, Dr. Kristen Gillespie- Lynch from the City University of New York (CUNY), visited kenya with the express intention to share her expertise with parents and teachers of autistic Kenyan Children. Workshops for 180 parents were held in both Nairobi and Mombasa cities. Parents also received vouchers to purchase play resources for their autistic children.
The workshops were grant funded.
In the workshops, parents explored and were able to correct their own views on autism, watched videos of actual autistic individuals explaining autism from an autistic person’s perspective and were equipped with told to help their autistic young children and teenagers.