‘Autism for African-American Families’ focuses on amplifying awareness

     (Image via Drexel University)

    (Image via Drexel University)

    Research shows that early diagnosis of autism in children can lead to better outcomes later in life. A new film about autism in African-American families aims to bring awareness of the developmental disorder to members of the community.

    In 2012, autism affected nearly one in 98 African-American children. But Philadelphia social worker and film creator Karen Krivit said many families aren’t familiar with the disorder and have limited access to resources that could help them.

    “The typical experience that I see in underserved families is not enough information and very late diagnosis, and that’s something known across the board, that underserved families are underserved because they get a diagnosis later,” said Krivit.

    In the film, created in partnership with Philadelphia’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, several African-American families described learning of their child’s diagnosis. They talked about shame, grief and fear of rejection by their community.

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    Icylee Basketbill, a mother featured in the film, said she hopes it will help other families facing a diagnosis of autism.

    “I think that it will allow the African-American community to be able to have the confidence to not second-guess themselves, just go with their gut,” said Basketbill. “And if there’s something going on with their child to be able to seek out support.”

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