In Honor of Black History Month

In recognition of Black History Month, I wanted to share research that has been done on the additional barriers that people of color with disabilities face in addition to managing their daily health conditions.

“Disability organizations in general “don’t talk about race, and specifically racism and anti-Black racism,” says Sadora Asefaw, who studied the experiences of Black families raising children with developmental disabilities for a master’s degree in environmental studies from York University and is now working on an independent digital storytelling project about how Black families and families of color experience disability.

Sadora Asafaw learned through interviews for her thesis: Amplifying the Experiences of Black Youth with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families: At the Margins of Policy and Practice, that racism, bias, socioeconomic status, and gender inequities produce barriers that affect the care pathways of black youth and their families.

Sherron Grant and her family experienced a system of support that did not address their needs when her son was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and, later, autism. “During these events, parents would discuss navigating the medical system, the school system, gaining resources; but it was not from a lens that I could relate to,” Sharon explains in an article by Autism Ontario. As a result of her frustration, she and her husband created The Black Parents of Children and Adults with a Disability Support Group (BPSG) to provide a safe space for families of African descent to come together to meet and connect, share resources, expertise, and needs, and to inspire and support one another through our unique, challenging, and isolating journey of raising Black children or supporting a sibling of any age with a disability. Today, over 130 families meet on Zoom and connect and share over Facebook.

BPSG is a volunteer-run group that meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month via Zoom. To register or for more details, email You can also find them on Facebook.

Published by

Heather Lacey

Experienced Non-Profit Executive DirectorPublished

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