Autism: ‘They Said Bleach Would Cure My Daughter’


What a difficult situation to be in for you would expect support from your family and/or your community regarding autism and the professionals to help you by sorting the misinformation from friends and community.

For autism is something that is not generally known about, well I did not. That was, until someone came to my place of employment to give a talk an autism.

I should explain, I was working at a day service for adults with learning disabilities and in this talk everything that was said I could see my own daughter and it gave me a great insight in explaining her behaviours and how to deal with them.

Eventually, after some lengthy deliberations with myself, that I decided that I wished to get a formal diagnosis. It was then I talked to my wife and eventually she agreed and then to discuss this with the appropriate authorities, who also eventually agreed and we then went on the waiting list.

Eventually the authorities advised that the they would commence the diagnosis process and the lengthy diagnosis process started and after some time an autism diagnosis was given.

This showed me how complex autism is in every way.

People are wary of the unknown and some can’t cope with it, so they put in place rituals and diversions so they can.

This could be why the BAME community put in place the reasonings they do.

But the professionals should be more aware of all the various situations and put in place facilities to help all concerned. But they do not and leave people to their ignorance and misconceptions and this makes life difficult for others who wish to understand more about autism.

Same Difference

“I’ve had people offer me products to ‘kill the autism’ – bleach, salts, supplements.”

For Yvonne Odukwe, a Nigerian living in Newport, community stigma around her daughter’s autism is a barrier – but it’s only half of a “double whammy”.

She and others say black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people can also face poor engagement from authorities.

The Welsh Government said its national autism team “regularly engages with BAME communities” among other steps.

“It’s a double layer,” said Yvonne, mother of 19-year-old Jasmine.

“I’m fighting the mainstream and then I’m also fighting my community because they’re not accepting me and, in many cases, blaming and shaming me.”

Autism is a lifelong development disability which affects how people see, hear and interact with the world.

Yvonne, a mother-of-three, said that like many parents of autistic children, she’d had to fight to get Jasmine support, but many parents from backgrounds like…

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