On December 11 of 2018, Senses Cultural was pleased to be able to organize a workshop and a presentation by Dr. Marzieh Forghany, Psy D for the West Sacramento Washington School District on the issue of autism and the stigma associated with the diagnosis in some Middle Eastern cultures. Dr. Forghany is a clinical psychologist at Kaiser Permanente in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Center at Rancho Cordova. She has experience working in community mental health facilities, in early intervention with children on the autism spectrum, and in general outpatient therapy with individual children and families conducting psychological assessments and providing individual psychotherapy. Her specialties include conducting psychological and cognitive assessment, evidence-based individual psychotherapy, as well as group therapy. Dr. Forghany is part of the Senses Cultural professional contributors team and an advisory board member.
The presentation included a detailed description of what stigma means, the differences between collectivist (Middle Eastern) and individualistic (American) cultures, and how collective trauma, lack of trust, guilt and shame create barriers to fully understanding and supporting persons with autism. Lastly, Dr. Forghany focused on strategies for overcoming these challenges.
Throughout the world, many families, and individuals with a diagnosis of autism are struggling to understand what the diagnosis means to their lives and how to maximize opportunities for success. Senses Cultural is working hard to help shine a light on efforts to improve the well-being of those with autism, here in the Sacramento area and throughout the Middle East.
Our special thanks go to Ms. Raheleh Atabaki, the school program specialist, for her great efforts and dedication in making the event possible.