Press Release

Local Charity Launches Initiative to Help South Asian Communities Understand Autism

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 by SAAAC No Comments



AUGUST 19, 2014

Media Contact
Kingston Yogendran
Phone: 416.708.5869

New autism awareness initiative will focus on the issues of early screening, diagnosis, intervention and de-stigmatizing autism in South Asian communities

Toronto, ONTARIO – On August 27, 2014 the South Asian Autism Awareness Centre (SAAAC), in partnership with creative consulting agency Ninety9Thirty, will launch Project InForm – a series of autism awareness campaigns focusing on the issues of early screening, diagnosis, intervention and de-stigmatizing autism among South Asian communities.

In December 2013, the Auditor General of Ontario released, in her annual report, a scathing critique of the current approach to identifying and treating autism in Ontario. The report points to late identification of autism as one of the key drawbacks to the current approach of the province. Citing research that early intervention provides better outcomes for children with autism than later intervention, the report highlights the need for earlier screening, diagnosis and intervention.

“Autism is a very complicated disorder,” says Geetha Moorthy, Executive Director of SAAAC. “Language barriers and the stigma associated with special needs in the South Asian community makes autism an even more challenging problem to tackle.” Project Inform looks to make autism understandable to South Asians everywhere. It will target newcomers to Canada, helping them understand the complexities of autism and providing vital information on the disorder in simple and accessible formats. The awareness campaigns will be translated into a variety of  South Asian languages as to be accessible to various communities.

One of the exciting aspects of Project InForm is that it is a completely crowd funded initiative. The resources dedicated to the project came directly from community members and unique fundraisers such as Headshot  Charity, hosted by Ninety9Thirty, where individuals got  professional head-shots taken for their online profiles and all proceeds were donated to helping launch Project Inform.

Poster conveying Proejct Inform Results

“Once individuals and communities understand autism, they can start taking the necessary steps to finding treatment and creating a much more open, inclusive environment. Knowledge isn’t only power, but it also the key to acceptance and change. We believe Project Inform will be a key driver of those things,” says Geetha.

There will be a press conference to unveil the initiative on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at the SAAAC Centre located at 1970 Ellesmere Road. Unit 1 (Toronto, ONT M1H 2W1) at 7:00 pm.


SAAAC was created in 2008 with the intention of inspiring families impacted by autism with a special focus on the cultural elements in the South Asian community that pose particular challenges. Our organization looks to create positive change in the lives of our clients through the following means:

  • Encouraging the independence of youth we serve through diverse therapies and programs
  • Empowering parents through education, training, and peer support networks
  • Engaging the South Asian community through meaningful volunteer experiences and fostering  greater understanding and acceptance of autism



For more information about this collaboration please contact,

Kingston Yogendran, Communication Coordinator, SAAAC

1-1970 Ellesmere Road Toronto, ONT M1H2W1

Office: 416-824-8847