On May 8, 2019, Senses Cultural convened a workshop entitled Autism With A Middle Eastern Focus. The workshop brought together expert speakers to review the latest literature on the topic, and offer proposals to improve the quality of life for families of Middle Eastern and Central Asian origin affected by autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Patient and Advocacy Advisor at Senses Cultural, Robert Miller, moderated the workshop. The discussions focused on breakthrough research to better understand the causes of autism, evidence-based treatments, autism-related disability rights for Middle Eastern families residing in California, the challenges faced by refugee mothers of autistic children, and cultural barriers faced by Middle Eastern communities in addressing the traumas of autism.
The workshop was organized in four panels led by the following speakers: Dr. Randi Hagerman, the Medical Director of the UC Davis Mind Institute; Dr. Amir Ramezani, an expert in Clinical Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine whose research focuses on integrating cognitive-behavioral and neuropsychology interventions to improve chronic medical and cognitive conditions, and cultural neuro-cognition; Nastaran Milani, research assistant at UC Davis; and, Jessica Tellez, Assistant Rights Advocate at the disability rights law firm Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA).
Nastaran Milani examined migration related traumas facing children suffering from autism and other neurodevelopment disorders. Jessica Tellez discussed the value that her organization brings to communities impacted by autism and neurological disorders, and with children with special needs. Dr. Amir Ramezani addressed Middle Eastern cultural barriers that adversely impact early diagnosis and effective treatments. Dr. Hagerman examined some of the causes of autism, some of the genetic bases that relate to the disorder, and neuro-treatments available to address autism, areas that Senses Cultural has advocated to encourage early diagnosis and effective treatments.
Senses Cultural thanks the Sacramento Zoroastrian Association for providing the venue to convene the workshop, and the support of association members and advocates, public relations expert Ms. Nahid Afshar and community activist Ms, Manijeh Behziz, for their support; and, the Senses Cultural professional team, videographer Ali Taheri and photographer Maryam Oskoie.
About Senses Cultural:
Senses Cultural is a US charitable 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing health education and sharing the latest research from Middle Eastern/Multicultural medical experts on autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. The organization supports families, communities and service providers seeking evidence-based best practice strategies to meet the needs of patients with autism or related disorders. Senses Cultural collaborates with research centers in the United States and internationally to increase understanding, prevention, care and cure of neurodevelopmental disorders. Senses Cultural shares the latest information available from ongoing research and studies on the issue by sponsoring frequent workshops that bring together medical providers, caregivers, underserved multicultural communities and others interested in supporting the organization’s goals. The organization raises awareness about and advocates using mandated government resources to assist families of Middle Eastern background in California and the United States to access the services available to serve children with special needs such as autism, other neurodevelopmental disorders, Down Syndrome and other disorders. Senses Cultural sponsors the Art for Autism initiative, and holds frequent workshops in the United States and the Middle East, to improve awareness by bringing together patients and their families with experts in the field, behavioural specialists, speech and language specialists, physicians, and psychologists practicing in the field. You can find further information about the organization by visiting www.sensescultural.org.
About the Sacramento Zoroastrian Association:
The Zoroastrian Association of Sacramento offers families a venue to gather and integrate into life in America while preserving the Zoroastrian culture and language. The association offers programs, organizes activities and services in compliance with the teachings of Zoroaster and within the boundaries of those beliefs. Its mission leads to raising generations of Zoroastrians connected to their roots while being productive citizens in our society. Some of the most important goals of the association are, but not limited to, teaching Zoroastrian thought and providing, developing and promoting social, religious and educational services, workshops, and recreational activities. The association promotes self-esteem and self-confidence in the Zoroastrian community and celebrates religious and cultural ceremonies such as Norouz, Mehregan, Yalda and Tirgan. It also sponsors events like family picnics, religious classes, discussion groups, baking & cooking classes, sports programs and dance classes. You can find further information about the Sacramento Zoroastrian Association by visiting http://sacza.org.