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Zahra lives in a beautiful and tranquil remote rural village near Irbid, Jordan. She loves its tranquility and the olive trees but is faced daily with the challenges of raising her daughter Layla, 12, who is autistic in a community that lacks awareness and acceptance of autism. Some families in communities where there is significant disability stigma hide their children with disabilities. But Zahra was determined to find a solution. When she heard about Blossom Hill Fellow Melissa Diamond’s program for autistic children, she quickly joined. She learned many skills, including how to address her daughter’s challenging behaviors, help her develop her strengths, and encourage her to do her favorite things. She also learned how to identify good specialists and support resources, and built relationships with other mothers of autistic children in her community.

Zahra said: “One amazing strategy I learned in this program was how to identify the functions of behaviors. I learned that it’s important to understand why a child does something before trying to change it. Once I understood why my daughter behaved as she did, it became much faster and easier to work with her and teach her new things. My relationship with my daughter has always been strong, but now I am more confident in my ability to teach her and support her. We have the same good relationship we’ve always had, but now I understand her better.”