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Autism in black, Asian and minority ethnic communities: a report on the first Autism Voice UK Symposium

Mariama Seray Kandeh (Autism Voice, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Mariama Korrca Kandeh (Autism Voice, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Nicola Martin (Department of Education, London South Bank University, London, UK)
Joanna Krupa (Department of Education, London South Bank University, London, UK)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 28 February 2020

Issue publication date: 21 April 2020

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315

Abstract

Purpose

Little is known about the way autism is interpreted and accepted among the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) populations in the UK. This report summarises a Symposium on autism in the UK-BAME community in 2018, organised by Autism Voice UK, Participatory Autism Research Collective and the Critical Autism and Disabilities Studies Research Group at London South Bank University.

Design/methodology/approach

The stance a family or community takes about a condition such as autism is influenced by their cultural background. The aims of the Symposium were to highlight different perspectives about autism in BAME communities and to preserve the cultural dignity of the community in supporting autistic members. Beliefs about autism, its diagnosis and acceptance of and support for autistic people from a specific cultural perspective of BAME communities must be cautiously interpreted by autism professionals because beliefs vary among different cultural groups.

Findings

Thematic analysis of feedback from participants yielded the following foci. Firstly, cultural, ethnic and religious sensitivities were important to participants who felt that these were often ignored by non-BAME professionals. Secondly, the need for collaboration to improve autism awareness within the community and understanding by professionals of the intersectionality between autism and identity in BAME families was prioritised. Thirdly, issues around feelings of stigma were common, but delegates felt that these were not well understood beyond people identifying as BAME.

Originality/value

An action plan was created which highlighted raising public awareness through community engagement, improvement of access to information for parents and culturally aware autism education for professionals and BAME communities.

Keywords

Citation

Kandeh, M.S., Kandeh, M.K., Martin, N. and Krupa, J. (2018), "Autism in black, Asian and minority ethnic communities: a report on the first Autism Voice UK Symposium", Advances in Autism, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 165-175. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-12-2018-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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