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Somali woman received “Changing Attitude” Changemaker Award in Minnesota

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Marion-Ahmed

Marian Ahmed of Savage received The Arc Greater Twin Cities’ “Changing Attitudes” Changemaker Award for encouraging Somali families to get help for their children who have autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc Greater Twin Cities has honored Marian Ahmed of Savage with its “Changing Attitudes” Changemaker Award. The award was presented at The Arc’s Volunteer Celebration and Annual Meeting on May 1 at the Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington, according to a press release.

The Changemaker Awards recognize individuals or organizations for making a difference for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The “Changing Attitudes” category recognizes those who positively change public perceptions of people with disabilities.

The mother of two young sons with autism, Ahmed is changing attitudes in the Somali community, where intellectual and developmental disabilities are often stigmatized. She had the courage to have her sons diagnosed at an early age and get therapies that are helping them overcome their challenges. Now she is publicly sharing her story to encourage other Somali families to get help for their own children with disabilities.

“It takes incredible bravery to come forward and speak about an issue that people would rather deny or avoid,” said Kim Keprios, CEO of The Arc Greater Twin Cities, in a press release. “Marian has dared to bring her story to light, and her courage is making a profound difference in her community. She is helping Somali families connect with resources and become advocates for their own children. But perhaps most important, she is helping the Somali community see disability differently, and that is truly an extraordinary change.”

The Arc Greater Twin Cities promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, actively supporting them and their families in a lifetime of full inclusion and participation in their communities. The Arc was started almost 70 years ago by parents determined to create more opportunities for their children with disabilities. Today, The Arc continues to be a family-focused, grassroots organization helping people address issues such as early intervention, education, transition to adulthood, health care, housing, employment, guardianship and more.

Article first appeared at Savage Pacer.

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