Diversity Fellow Project, Sahra Dahir

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Somali Community Health Workers

Somali Community Health Workers [download poster]

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Project Narrative

1. Please describe your activities during your fellowship experience. Describe your final capstone project(s).
I attended two classes at Nisonger: LEND Seminar and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on ASD. I observed clinical assessments of young children and school children, and contributed to work plan and resource development. I visited Somali families with young children to talk about autism and developmental disabilities. I distributed educational materials to the Somali community in Columbus, Ohio. Lastly, I created content for our capstone and the Nisonger Center website.

2. Who did your project inform, help, influence or impact? (UCEDD, individual, community, state) How?
The project informed and supported the large Somali community in Columbus, Ohio along with other immigrants about how to get help for children with autism and developmental disabilities. I discussed developmental disabilities with families of children who had delays and gave them information on resources in the community on autism and developmental disabilities. I also talked with families about why they did not get services for their children.

3. Why did you choose to work on that project(s)?
I am a certified Community Health Worker and I saw the need for more culturally competent autism awareness in my community. This partnership of SomaliCAN and Nisonger was an opportunity for me to learn more.

4. What did you gain from being a Diversity Fellow?
I learned a lot. My classes were great and the clinical experience gave me rare access to how autism and developmental assessments are done. Best of all, I had a great experience in D.C. and learned about developmental disabilities and how to talk to legislators. I also enjoyed meeting the students and teachers and learning from them. Thank you!

5. How will this experience impact your education or career decisions?
This experience helped shape my future plans. Because of the education, connections and experiences that SomaliCAN and Nisonger gave me, I have been hired as an Outreach Worker with Columbus Public Health. I plan to continue to focus on child development and community engagement.

6. What are your future goals? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I will continue to work as an Outreach Workers and I will earn a degree in healthcare.

7. What recommendations do you have for other Fellows?
Continue to be involved with Nisonger even after your Fellowship; your connections will continue to expand and you can make a large impact.

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