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Learning that your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can have a profound impact on parents, caregivers and other family members. In this highly personal narrative, the presenter, a mother of a child with autism and a licensed clinical social worker, describes her own journey of adjustment to the reality of her child’s autism. Learning to navigate complex service systems and learning how to be a strong advocate are necessary skills needed to ensure that their child receives seamless, timely, and quality services.


At the conclusion of this program, participants should be able to:

  • Identify and counter at least 2 myths of a stereotypical clinical presentation of autism and ADHD.
  • Describe at least 1 possible cultural difference and experience of oppression faced by African American children with ASD and their families.
  • Recognize and employ at least 2 strategies for supporting children of color who have autism and their families


Danyale Sturdivant, MSSW, LCSW. Danyale is a graduate of Russell Sage College and Columbia University and holds a master’s degree in advanced clinical social work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of North Carolina. Ms. Sturdivant has worked in the mental health field for over 15 years in various settings in the public sector. She currently works as a Utilization Care Manager at a local Managed Care Organization where she authorizes mental health and IDD service requests. Ms. Sturdivant has an interest in how ASD/IDD is perceived in communities of color as well as closing the gap between children of color and their counterparts with early detection, treatment and wrap around services.



  • Ennis-Cole, D., Durodoye, B. A., & Harris, H. L. (2013). The impact of culture on autism diagnosis and treatment. The Family Journal, 2(3), 279-287.
  • Gourdine, R. M., & Algood, C. L. (2014). Autism in the African American population. Comprehensive Guide to Autism, 2455-2467.
  • Pearson, J.N., Meadan, H., Malone, K.M. et al. Parent and Professional Experiences Supporting African-American Children with Autism. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 7, 305–315 (2020).
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