Rosie on mission to raise autism awareness
Vincentian-born Rosanne Small-Morgan is making strides on her mission to bring more awareness and understanding about the life-changing issue of autism.
The founder of Autism Who Knew, a non-profit organisation on a mission to educate and empower people affected by autism, with a focus on the Caribbean and African American communities, she continues to progress on her journey to share information on this topic of universal relevance as well as to provide support to families with autistic children.
Over the past few years, Small-Morgan, who is a radio host, newspaper columnist, comedienne, wife, and mother has had to overcome several life challenges. Affectionately referred to as ‘Rosie’ by her readers and social media followers, her journey is fuelled by her experience with her 12-year-old son Zane who is autistic.
According to her, “Even though he’s quite high functioning and smart, it has been an uphill battle and fight to get him accumilated in the society around us. I also found that there weren’t many people in my Caribbean community who were talking openly and candidly regarding their trials re autism.”
The journey continued with her sharing her family’s escapades with Zane, his pitfalls and triumphs, via blogging. This led to other mothers and households revealing their stories about their own experiences with autism.
Rosie is now a speaker on autism. She has talked at forums such as the Vincy Cares Awards dinner in New York, the annual Karen Hinds’ Phenomenal Womans Conference in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and a Women’s Jazz Conference in Miami Beach, Florida.
Small-Morgan told the Jamaica Observer that she will lead the organisation’s first outreach to Jamaica this month.
“I think I can help bring more of a spotlight and understanding through my comedic-type talks/lectures and helpful, personal tips about autism, and give feedback to the audience on how our family handled particular challenges,” she shared.
From 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on February 19, Small-Morgan and her team will be at the Boulevard Baptist Church in Kingston to offer support by way of screenings, as well as guidelines and suggestions for coping.
“Two of our board members, Dr Sophia Francis-Stewart, child and adolescent psychiatrist, and Ruth Allen, behavioral therapist, will be going with me to have outreaches and screenings,” she told the
Observer. “We will also be meeting with the Ministry of Education and the students at the University of the West Indies. Our overall mission is that we can encourage, educate and empower other parents who are on the same path that they are not alone.”