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Black History Month 2021

In February, Firefly Autism celebrated Black History Month with many inspirational stories about incredible people who are still making change today.

We have complied many resources here and hope you can use this information to learn more about what is being done to strengthen communities of all color and celebrate and share this information with your communities.

Black Autistic Lives Matter and Firefly Autism has been offering training to the Denver Police for years in order to help them respond to calls that involve autistic individuals. Last year highlighted many reason why we need to consider how we would like law enforcement to respond to calls from people with mental health diagnoses. Read for more:

 “For me, that is the beauty of celebrating both Black History Month and Autism Awareness Month. It points our society to the ever-growing awareness that diversity is needed, diversity is beautiful, and diversity is what will make our society stronger. We need a culture that is constructed through the collaboration of different voices, voices that have narratives that are important because they inspire.”

“The Resistance, Persistence and Resilience of Black Families Raising Children with Autism,” published in May, is unique for an academic book because it is a collaboration that included a UWM education professor, Elizabeth Drame, and co-authors/investigators who are themselves Black parents with a child on the autism spectrum.

One woman’s experience being both black and autistic raises some important points on why researchers need to identify race in autism studies. “To dispel harmful stereotypes, researchers must include and track autistic black people. For adult black women with autism to get programs and services that address our needs, researchers first need to acknowledge that we exist.”

The researchers examined the experiences of Black families in the U.S. as they sought a diagnosis and treatment for concerns about a child’s development, language or behavior and found a 3 year delay in diagnosis. That delay means Black children miss out on age-appropriate, autism-specific care and a chance to improve their cognitive skills, the researchers say. At Firefly Autism we now have a diagnostic center to catch as many early diagnoses as we can and provide services that allow individuals to get the therapies that help them lives their best lives.


Raising a young, gifted and black young man with autism comes with its own set , rules, rewards and expectations. Being an educator and a parent of a child with autism comes with its own set of questions that not just parents should ask but that the Education System should ask. LaChan Hannon ask the question: How does race influence how we see autism and the perception we have about our young, gifted and black children around the world?

Young, Gifted & Black With Autism | LaChan Hannon | TEDxCooperRiverWomen

While it is true that autism is largely a male disorder, women suffer from it too. But their unique stories often go untold. Sarai Pahla is a young woman from Zimbabwe who grew up in South Africa and has been living in Germany for a couple of years. She suffers from Asperger syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. In her talk, she describes the difficulties she has had to master in the course of her life. And she delivers a manual for those who dare to engage in a relationship with autistic women. 

Women and Autism. Towards a Better Understanding | Sarai Pahla | TEDxMünster

African-American children are often diagnosed with autism at older ages than white children, missing years of potential intervention and treatment. Special correspondent John Donvan and producer Karen Zucker meet a black family who struggled to find community and resources for their son with autism, but are now helping others who need answers and support

Children of color with autism face disparities of care and isolation

Being Black adds another layer to the complicated experience of navigating an autism diagnosis for your child or children you work with. This webinar below is great for Black parents and anyone in the community that wants to up their allyship to BIPOC with Autism. 

Working with Children who are Autistic and Black, A Webinar Conversation.

Podcast:The Autism in Black Podcast focuses on all things Autism and the Black Parent experience. “Our goal is to educate, support, and empower black parents to advocate not only for their children but themselves as well”


Firefly Autism is a 501(c)(3) organization registered in the state of Colorado. Donations are tax-deductible.


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