We bring together autism professionals, trauma specialists and passionate educators to equip communities to support and include children on the autism spectrum.
We work with community stakeholders to implement culturally appropriate, individualized programs that address community needs.
Volunteers, advocates, and donors are crucial champions of our mission to foster inclusive communities.
WHY A GLOBAL VOICE FOR AUTISM
We are the world’s first organization dedicated to autism inclusion in refugee & conflict-affected communities.
To date, we have helped more than 20,263 families, teachers, community advocates, and children build and participate in inclusive communities.
In 2012, Melissa Diamond founded A Global Voice for Autism with a strong belief that a child’s birthplace should not limit their ability to live a healthy life, access an education that supports their success, and participate in community.
We’ve seen encouraging changes since then. Hundreds of previously excluded children on the autism spectrum are now able to attend school, and, through our work around the world, we’ve changed the lives of thousands of children.
We work in over 16 countries, often in the world’s most challenging humanitarian contexts—providing life-changing support and resources to children and their families in the moments they need it most.
Thanks for our supporters and partners, we achieve globally recognized results for children and families. In 2021 alone, we positively impacted the lives of more than 6,000 people, including hundreds through a COVID-19 emergency response initiative that alleviated food insecurity and prevented homelessness for children on the autism spectrum and their caregivers.
As the world’s leading experts on autism inclusion in conflict-affected contexts, we believe that every child deserves to be healthy, educated and included. This belief is the motivation for everything we do. We know you feel the same.
Our Founding Story
On an international visit to a center for children with disabilities, our founder, Melissa Diamond, met a refugee mother, Haya*, and her four-year-old daughter, Rana*. Rana had recently been diagnosed with autism, and the pair had traveled hours to the center to spend three weeks learning about Rana's diagnosis. Haya told Diamond that, after her visit to the center, she planned to return to her community and hide Rana in her home. She said she would rather not have friends than have friends who knew her daughter was autistic.
As Diamond stayed in touch with Haya, it became clear that the autism stigma and lack of resources that led Haya to keep Rana out of sight were also experienced by other families, in Haya and Rana's community, and beyond. Motivated by this knowledge, Diamond founded a small project to train parents and offer support to families in Haya and Rana's community. This, over time, grew into A Global Voice for Autism.
We work in communities where few other evidence-based autism support resources exist.
Demand for our services has increased exponentially in recent years. With more than 89.3 people forcibly displaced worldwide (UNHCR) and more than 2 billion people living in conflict areas, 426 million of whom are children, the need for our services is greater than ever before.
To create a sustainable positive impact in the lives of the children and families we serve, recognize the importance of not only responding to needs, but setting up systems to support and include children on the autism spectrum for years to come. Though institutions in the communities we serve are often fractured, we carefully identify and collaborate with partners committed to the inclusion and well-being of all children.
As innovators in the autism inclusion space, we’ve leveraged technology, relationships, and data to provide support to families impacted by crises in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and other countries around the world.
A child’s rights to health, education, and community participation should never be impacted by that child’s birthplace or location. That’s why we’re focused on building inclusive communities that value children on the autism spectrum, and helping thousands of children access healthcare, education and community through both traditional and non-traditional means.
We are the leading the way for autism inclusion in refugee & conflict-affected communities.
If you’re still wondering why A Global Voice for Autism, there are so many other reasons:
We are global leaders in disability inclusion and inclusive education in refugee contexts.
We have a proven track record of doing more with less by training trainers and leveraging volunteers to change lives.
We’re transforming the way autism support is delivered, using a community-based cooperative model to make services accessible in even the places with the fewest resources.
We champion disability inclusion through our child-centered approach.
We are a lifeline for families, providing the first-ever autism support to more than 90% of the families we serve.
There's no better way to understand our impact than through the stories of families like Rahaf's.
“I fled my country and was physically safe now, but before I found A Global Voice for Autism, I didn’t feel safe here. People yelled at me for my daughter’s behavior in public. They didn’t understand autism. They looked down on me for being a refugee. A Global Voice for Autism’s program is the first time since I arrived here that people have treated me like a human. They value me. Most importantly, they value my daughter.
There's more. The A Global Voice for Autism team showed me how to help my daughter speak. She said three words before this program and would usually pull me to what she wanted, but now she uses her new words to tell me what she wants. I joined a support group for parents and Rahaf's younger brother joined one for siblings. We both learned to support Rahaf, but we also made friends and learned strategies for supporting ourselves.
The best part was that teachers participated in the program too. They learned to work with Rahaf and other children with autism, and after the program, Rahaf got to join one of their classrooms. Because she was an autistic refugee, I'd given up on the idea that my daughter would ever go to school, but the dedication of the A Global Voice for Autism team and the other program participants made it possible."
-Amina, mother of Rahaf, age 7, Syrian refugee
We are working around the clock to ensure that families like Rahaf's feel safe, valued, and included.
It is because of our commitment to families like Rahaf’s that we have been recognized globally as leaders in refugee support and disability inclusion. Our data-backed results and child-centered approach have been recognized by the United Nations, the Global Forum for Migration and Development, the UN Major Group on Children and Youth, One Young World, and more.
Bottom line: Giving to A Global Voice for Autism is one of the most impactful actions you can take for a family like Rahaf’s. So go ahead, make a positive impact today.