Community Inclusion featuring Barbara Santiago, Author, Advocate, and Parent of Special Needs Children

“Do you ever find yourself alone in a crowd of people?” Barbara Santiago writes in her book “My A.S.D: My Autism Sentiment Diary.” If your answer is yes, know that you are not alone here! 

Inclusion is defined as the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups. Inclusion is only effective if it includes the voices of those who are being marginalized. 

Santiago’s story, like many others, shares her obstacles in isolation of parenting three children with special needs in her Michigan community. The unwelcoming feeling around family and friends and the struggle to balance it all. Santiago states that resources in her low-income community are slim to none. To participate in crucial therapies, such as ABA and other sensory friendly opportunities, she usually has to travel outside of her community.  In most communities like Barbara’s, Hispanic and African American children are 1.1x less likely to be accurately diagnosed than their counterparts according to the Centers for Disease Control (Full Article), which in turn these children are also less likely to receive early intervention services. Barbara says, “I know I am only a fraction of the world’s population.  But if you have a story, whether big or small, share it.  Let the world know that we are not alone in a world full of amazing people with autism. Together it will become OUR autism sentiment diary.”

Find Barbara’s books here:

My A.S.D Autism Sentiment Diary
My Autism Sentiment Prompt Journal