Fredrick Sembatya from Uganda studied MA Autism

Fredrick Sembatya from Uganda. Studied MA Autism

Fredrick Sembatya from Uganda. Studied MA Autism

My life changing career started in September 2012 when I arrived at the dream come true University of South Wales for an MA Autism course. Right from the point of arriving at Heathrow Airport to arriving at the University I was received and taken care of by a caring team of university staff and ambassadors.

During my career at the University, I had a caring academic team led by Dr. Shirley, my immediate supervisor Sally Roberts Scott and others such as Kathy Evans who were always available to attend to my academic needs and concerns. During my studies, I learnt analytical and critical skills in the area of Autism. This helped me understand and appreciate autism as a spectrum disorder other than generalising perceptions and observations of individuals on the spectrum. In developing countries such as Uganda, there is a tendency of generalising views and perceptions towards individuals with the spectrum disorder. But with the skills and knowledge acquired I was able to understand the fact that ‘If one has seen an individual with autism, he has seen someone with autism’. In practice this means that autism affects individuals differently though there may be some common manifestations among different individuals.

Upon returning home after my MA Autism course, I met several parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who were tired of taking their children to “professionals” who were not specifically autism trained. I started offering a specialised service geared towards improving lives of individuals with the spectrum disorder in areas such as behavioural management, language and communication, sensory integration, plus many others. My services have been taken up by one of the International Schools in Kampala and I now offer them my technical expertise in ASD.

With increased demand for autism specific services, parents of children with autism advised me to open up an autism specific therapeutic center where their children could receive specified services in an autism friendly environment. In September 2015, I opened a unique autism specific therapeutic center in Kampala where I offer services such as carrying out needs assessments, design and implement personal centred plans, train parents and caretakers, carry out sensitization programs nationwide using media such as television, articles in local newspapers, among others. I am also carrying out community outreach programs and work with some children in their homes during the weekends. It’s great to work with families and community members to teach skills to individuals with Autism. If all concerned parties take an active role in the learning process of the child it gives the child an opportunity to practice taught skills in different environments with different people.

I often use the readily available resources that I have to teach the different skills to the children. I also teach parents and caretakers how to make the resources using the readily available materials. I am also training/sharing skills with a team of young boys and girls who have the passion to change lives of individuals with autism who will be giving me a hand during my work with the children.