Working in partnership with The Gabriella Children’s Rehabilitation Centre, the University of Georgia, and MUHIMBILI University, we organized groundbreaking autism diagnostic clinics and individual training sessions for families. Subsequently, we have hosted other village diagnostic sessions with visiting international professionals.
We encourage and seek to find ways that families from the community can work with professionals to identify the disability of their child and create a plan to better support their child.
CA Tanzania recognizes that young people and adults living with autism and co-occurring conditions in Tanzania have very few economic opportunities. To address this reality, we have begun a pilot program to support young people post-education to develop skills needed for employment and independent living, while placing them in the workplace. Our first such young adult was placed at Sunflag Limited in Arusha this past year.
To make this program more viable and accessible, we are in the process of presenting it to government officials, whom we hope will take it on as part of their vocational services.
We are (1) hosting government educational seminars that explain the vital role of special education, (2) conducting a needs assessment in their districts and (3) offering training on implementation. Using our pilot program’s initial placement to show what is possible, we are urging governments to take on this combination of vocational training and job coaching services that will allow the autistic and those with co-occurring conditions to take their place in the workplace.
CA Tanzania works with parents and guardians to organize support groups. Our trainings offer strategies for parents to form small groups that can offer critical emotional support and serve as a means of advocacy within their communities. These sessions include project development guidance, budgeting assistance and consensus building discussions.
“We learned children with the same problem aren't supposed to be hidden in the house. I also learned to support him by bringing him to school, and I advise others to bring their children to school. It is a normal problem and can be changed.”
(Mother of a 7-year-old boy)
“We need the community to know the problem as well as they know TB, HIV-AIDS, and other disability. This is the only way to help autism victims and children themselves.”
(Special Needs Education Officer, Arusha)