Our Approach

A Global Voice for Autism equips refugee and conflict-affected communities to support and include children on the autism spectrum. We are often communities' only source of autism and inclusive education support. Our holistic, programs are lifelines for families, and our programs are customized for each community's context and needs. 

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Parent & Teacher Training Cooperatives

The core of our holistic support and capacity-building model, parent and teacher training cooperatives bring together parents of children on the autism spectrum and educators interested in inclusive education to learn evidence-based strategies for autism support and inclusive education. 

Participants take part in theoretical and practical training components, learning new strategies and applying them in supervised settings to support children in their communities. Through our unique model, participants work with each other's children. This allows children to generalize new skills through an affordable support model, and helps participants strengthen their knowledge of learned practices.

Measured outcomes: decreases in parenting stress, children's progress toward developmental milestones, increased parent and teacher ownership of children's developmental and learning outcomes, and many more.

"I learned that my child is very smart, he just learns differently. I also learned that I have the power to teach him. I am proud of my son and all he has learned in this program. I am also proud of myself."

Amera, Mother of Naji, age 8, Syrian refugee in Turkey

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Support and Self-Development Groups

For many parents, teachers and siblings that join our programs, community is one of their greatest needs.

Our data-backed Support and Self-Development program takes peer groups of parents, teachers, and siblings through a twelve-week community-based program that improves participant self-confidence, teaches strategies for self-care, and facilitates meaningful connections between peers that equip them to better support their loved ones on the autism and each other.

Participants have formed close friendships through these groups and have built support networks that span the globe.

Measured outcomes: meaningful relationships between peers , increased participant self-confidence, improvements in parent-child and sibling relationships, and more.

"For as long as I can remember, my family had a rule that we didn't talk about my brother with anyone. I felt guilty every time I lied to my friends about why they couldn't come to my house. Then, I joined the sibling program. I met other kids I could be honest with and we became  friends. I don't feel lonely now. For the first time, I like helping my brother"

Amera, Mother of Naji, age 8, Syrian refugee in Turkey

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Community Inclusion & Awareness Events

Cultivating communities that value inclusion is vital in creating environments where individuals on the autism spectrum and their loved ones can thrive. Our community inclusion and awareness events bring together community members with and without disabilities of all ages to learn about autism, build relationships, and bring inclusion to life. 

From inclusion carnivals to movie nights to community clean up days, we work with communities to develop inclusion events that are fun, educational, and meaningful and measure the learnings and transformations of hundreds of community members to understand what works best.

Measured outcomes: Dispelled misconceptions about autism, improvements in attitudes toward inclusion, increases in feelings of community belonging for participants with and without disabilities, increased participant motivation to develop inclusive spaces.

"I didn't take my daughter out of the house because I knew my community would gossip if they learned she was autistic. Then, I started going to A Global Voice for Autism's community inclusion events, first alone, then with my daughter. Seeing the community's excitement made me feel for the first time that my community accepts my daughter for who she is."

Adham, Father of Joud, age 4, Jordan

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Inclusive Play Groups

Children on the autism spectrum are often tasked with learning how to play in the ways other children play, but children without autism can learn many things from the ways children on the autism spectrum play. Our inclusive play groups provide stimulating, equitable and creative environments for children on and off the autism spectrum to play together.

Facilitated by teachers in our training cooperatives as part of their practicum, our inclusive play groups are places where children connect and learn to play together. All participants take turns selecting games and activities and are supported in their participation. Groups become a highlight for children of all backgrounds longing for a place to connect and belong.

Measured outcomes: development of meaningful friendships between children with and without disabilities, improved attitudes toward autistic community members, improvements in play skills for children with and without disabilities.

"My best friend is Adnan. Our favorite thing to do  is roll in the grass. He's great at coming up with games. He doesn't talk, but he shows me what he wants to do and I always understand because we're best friends."

Saja, age 7, Syrian refugee in Jordan

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Inclusive Education Teacher Training

Teachers want to support all learners, but often lack the training and support to do so. Our teacher trainings supplement equip teachers with strategies for classroom-based inclusive education and classroom management. 

Participants apply learned strategies through practicum experiences in our inclusive play groups, and receive tailored support and feedback from inclusive education professionals.

 

93% of participants go on to train other teachers in their schools in learned practices and advocate for the inclusion of children on the autism spectrum in their schools.

Measured outcomes: increases in teacher confidence and ownership of students' learning outcomes, increases in the numbers and improvements in the outcomes of children on the autism spectrum in schools.

"When other teachers in my school saw how well-behaved my classes were they wanted to learn my tricks. I told them I was using the inclusive education strategies I learned from A Global Voice for Autism and they asked me to teach them. When we use these strategies, everything is easier in our classrooms. It's not just about students with autism, but about all students."

Rana Syed, First Grade Teacher, Turkey

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Global Advocacy & Awareness

Acceptance starts with awareness and many communities still lack an understanding of what autism is and how they can include individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Through speaking engagements at conferences, companies, and the United Nations, we raise awareness about autism, the global need for inclusive spaces, and promising practices for inclusive education and autism inclusion.

 

Founder, Melissa Diamond has represented the organization on stages in 58 countries,  including at the United Nations, the First Global Conflict Medicine Congress in Beirut, Lebanon, Rotary International conventions, The Clinton Global Initiative meeting, and the One Young World summit.

Measured outcomes: requests for programs in 100+ communities worldwide, increased autism awareness, increased awareness of A Global Voice for Autism's work.

"Think about who is not in the room, and work out what you can do about it. Present data, convey messages, and work toward creating spaces where they feel encouraged and comfortable advocating for their own needs. If we all do this, then we will be building a more inclusive an equitable world, for those with disabilities and beyond."

Melissa Diamond, Founder, A Global Voice for Autism

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Autism Inclusion Advisory Services

Those on the autism spectrum have unique skills and value to contribute in the workplace, but, too often, lack opportunities to do so. A Global Voice for Autism works with companies of all sizes to guide them in hiring autistic talent and setting up workplace environments where employees on the autism spectrum can thrive.

We offer consultations, and teambuilding workshops that promote creative approaches to workplace inclusion, educate employers about accommodations, and cultivate workplaces around the world that are excited about the talent autistic employees can bring to their companies and communities.

Measured outcomes: Improvements in executive and team attitudes toward hiring autistic talent, increases in workplace flexiblity and openness to accommodations for autistic employees, new autistic hires following consultations.