In 2018, Northeast Arc’s Autism Support Center launched a group for Arab parents. The group is led by Salima Slimane of Malden. In celebration of Autism Acceptance Month, Salima shared her story and why she chose to facilitate this group.

Our family has been involved with the Northeast Arc Autism Support Center and particularly with Gloria Ricardi Castillo, since my son was 3 years old. My family has been so fortunate to be a part of the Northeast Arc organization and all the caring and supportive staff who strive to provide critical services for families.

Throughout this long journey trying to navigate the maze of special education and the complexities of the Autism diagnosis, the Autism Support Center has always provided me with emotional support, valuable information, advice, and guidance on parenting a child with autism.

Salima with her son

The Autism Support Center has also managed to alleviate some of the financial burden related to some of autism’s expenses through generous grants which have helped to pay for services, access to therapies, and equipment.

The highlight of my relationship with the Autism Support Center is a wonderful partnership with Gloria that resulted in the creation of an Arab parent support group in 2018. The group has been very successful and well attended in-person at Cambridge Health Alliance in Malden, and for the past two years via Zoom. The ASC schedules presenters in various relevant topics for our meetings which is crucial to educate us and keep us in the know in our journey of raising a child with autism.

I will be eternally grateful to this organization who has provided us with opportunities to connect with others; I have learned that we are stronger when we are together. Northeast Arc has made a difference not only in the life of my son, but in the lives of countless others children and adults who are connected with the agency.

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