A Global Voice for AutismMelissa Diamond
Melissa was personally affected by autism in her family and was driven to create change in communities that did not have knowledge or skills to bring a better relationship for children with autism in communities suffering within conflict zones. Through A Global Voice for Autism, Melissa Diamond and her team, work in communities located in Palestine, Turkey and Jordan to build support individuals with autism to help shift community mindsets from the exclusion towards inclusion whereby all individual are considered a worthy member of society. The organization serves on the ground alongside her partner NGO’s and school system to ensure that all programs are culturally sensitive and responsive to community needs.
Melissa is working to change this by raising awareness about the intersections of conflict and developmental disability and the gap that often exists here in the humanitarian response narrative. She has done this by speaking twice at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day (2014, 2017) alongside leaders from IOM, Autism Europe and WHO to provide an on the ground perspective on autism in these communities and continues to seek platforms for advocacy and engagement. The progress made by Melissa to shift the needle on this major global issue is extraordinary.