2011 International Autism Policies and Practices Conference

Venue: Accra

Location: Accra, 6, Ghana

Event Date/Time: Apr 07, 2011 End Date/Time: Apr 10, 2011
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The Global Autism Project along with autism organizations and professionals throughout
West Africa proudly presents the International Autism Policies and Practices Conference to
be held on 7-10 April 2011 in Accra, Ghana. This conference will serve as a catalyst for the
formation of the Autism Society of West Africa - a collaborative organization dedicated to
improving the diagnosis of autism and service delivery models throughout West Africa. This
regional partnership will create formal agreements and strengthen systems of communication
between partnering agencies, which will increase program effectiveness, accountability, and

The conference is the first of a series of annual events addressing the immediate need for
enhanced sustainable autism services throughout West Africa. It is our vision that each year
we will rotate the location of the conference among the participating countries. Our mission
is to support each host country by using local resources and promoting local businesses.
The partners for this event include but are not limited to: the Global Autism Project, Autism
Associates Nigeria, Autism Awareness, Care & Training Centre, Awaawaa2, Autism Community
of Africa, Home-Link Trust, Teachers Without Borders, and CHIP of NY. Additionally,
researchers and doctors, from leading medical institutions, have been invited to participate.

The mission of the International Autism Policies and Practices Conference is to bring together
parents, caregivers, professionals and community members of West Africa affected by autism
to examine and evaluate current autism services regionally and worldwide. It will provide
participants with the opportunity to connect with other individuals and organizations that provide
services to people with autism and to examine how to improve service delivery models locally.
This conference will launch the formation of the Autism Society of West Africa (ASWA), an
organization making an effort to create a connection between influential members working in
related fields and also to increase overall social sustainability of West African autism services.
This initiative will enhance collaboration, strengthen communication, and solidify accountability
among West African nations.


Currently there is limited access to autism resources in many developing nations of the world
and countries in West Africa are no exception. In 1998, based on the lack of adequate
services available at the time for her son with autism, Mrs.Serwah Quaynor founded the Autism
Awareness, Care and Training Centre in Accra, Ghana. Since then and through many years
of advocacy, the AACT Centre has been continuing to grow into a center of excellence, both
in clinical and administrative practices. For the past seven years the Global Autism Project
has worked in partnership with the AACT Centre and developed a model of service that is
sustainable and effective.

The AACT Centre has leveraged not only local support, but local media attention in order to
significantly improve awareness of autism throughout Ghana. In 2008, Mrs.Serwah Quaynor
was named to the Ghana National Disabilities Council, becoming the first person to represent
the needs of individuals with autism in the country. The AACT Centre as well as the government
in Ghana have stepped up to the challenges of autism in ways that are exemplary and
replicable within the culture of West Africa.

This conference will focus on a holistic and comprehensive approach to educating people with
autism, special education policy, and raising a child with autism in West Africa. In addition the
conference will propose key practical measure and proposals that may be implemented in the
future by governments, policy-makers, educators, and parents.

Nationally based conferences are nothing new and have occurred throughout West African
countries focusing on topics ranging from inclusive education to disability rights. The unique
difference with the International Autism Policies and Practices Conference is that the goal is
to bring together nationally influential participants along with global experts in autism related
fields to work in partnership to enhance collaboration, strengthen communication, and solidify
accountability among West African nations. These countries have collaborated on initiatives
in the past through the ECOWAS agreement, thus providing an initial foundation of civil
international collaboration.

Target Participants
The conference targets a wide range of participants including but not limited to: Doctors,
Special Educators, Behavior Analysts, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists,
Physiotherapists, parents, caregivers, university students, policy makers, community members,
and representatives of leading international autism organizations. The rationale is to actively
involve those affected by autism and begin connecting resources locally, regionally, and
globally.The conference is expected to attract over 500 attendees.


The conference is being organized by a committee of leading international professionals,
including a host country committee to ensure sustainability.

For the first three days of the four day conference, participants will be given the opportunity
to attend keynote presentations along with breakout sessions allocated for deliberations
within smaller groups. Each invited country will be provided with the opportunity to present an
overview of current their regional autism services, models and practices. Every day will end with
a meeting of participants who wish to partake in the formation of the Autism Society of West
Africa. The conference will then conclude with a day of celebrations, including the signing of the
Autism Society of West Africa documentation and performances by local entertainment groups.
The day of celebration will also focus on the peaceful gathering and successful collaboration of
international professionals.

A media conference will provide local journalists with information about autism throughout the
region of West Africa and around the World. Members of both local and International media
will be invited to attend various discussions during the conference including the signing of the
organizing documents to form Autism Society of West Africa, as well as presentations from
International experts on autism signs, symptoms, and interventions.

Desired outcomes and follow-up
The desired outcome for all participants of the conference is to engage in a stimulating and
practical outlook for the future of services provided to people affected with autism and support
for their care providers through the formation of the Autism Society of West Africa.

Collaboration - This conference will facilitate regional collaboration between partner
organizations throughout West Africa. Parents, professionals and researchers from
representative countries will take part in collaborative efforts.

Communication - Communication methods and schedules will be put in place following the
conference to facilitate regular communication between members of Autism Society West Africa

Accountability - Each partner in ASWA will be responsible for specific actions and outcomes,
this model of a regional partnership will create greater ethical accountability by developing
necessary tools for professional expertise.

Social Sustainability - By increasing regional collaboration, communication and personal
accountability, the necessary network will be created in order to host this conference annually.
Materials will be sourced locally to support the economy in the host country and a percentage
of revenue generated by conference will be allocated to support the future regional autism
conferences in West Africa.

On a professional level, this conference will increase providers’ understanding of autism
services worldwide, solidify sustainable local resources as well as highlight current West

African accomplishments on an international scale. On both a professional and parent level,
this conference will create a support system, bring knowledge of current best practices, and
empower West African families to make change on a local level. This conference will create a
regional partnership that will serve as a model for other regions in Africa and around the World.

The follow-up of the event will be critical for furthering and eventually sustainably implementing
suggestions generated during the conference. To conclude the conference, partners
and participants will be given an opportunity to create a follow-up plan that will ensure
implementation of skills learned.

Information about the Global Autism Project
The Global Autism Project is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, dedicated to bridging the
global gap in the resources and understanding of autism. We are committed to empowering
communities worldwide to address the needs of individuals affected by autism through
education, outreach, training, and the promotion of acceptance and compassion.

To address the lack of resources and extremely limited understanding of autism that plagues
many under-served populations, we partner with autism centers established by local individuals.
Our community empowerment model supports systemic change by providing family and
community education through workshops and hands-on training.

We believe in embracing the talent and resources of the communities we serve by furnishing
them with tools that engender self-reliance, sustainable development, and continued innovation.
Through this comprehensive, bottom-up approach, it is our vision to build a world in which all
individuals affected by autism have access to effective services.

The Global Autism Project is proud to announce its merger with Autism Without Borders, thus
increasing the capability, knowledge-base, and overall quality of services being shared with
countries worldwide.

Confirmed Participants
Doctors, parents, professionals, educators and policy makers from the following countries have
confirmed participation in the conference:

Cote D’Ivoire
United States

More specific and detailed information is available upon request, please contact:

Casey McFeeley



Additional Information

Register online at http://aswaconference.eventbrite.com/ Inclusive event registration: $2,000.00 ECOWAS Resident Registration: $25.00 Day conference rate: $150.00