How Does A Father With Special Needs Kid Help Raise Awareness About Autism? Through Hip-hop

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald April 03, 06:58 am
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Hassan Dennaoui with his child and his wife in a screenshot from the CNN interview. He has a special needs kid.
(Photo : CNN/YouTube)

As the world marks World Autism Day, a father shared his story about how he raises awareness regarding the condition. He has a son with autism and he said he uses his radio show and the social media to battle the stigma related to autism.

The father, Hassan Dennaoui spoke to CNN via their "Connect the World" segment and he talked about his six-year-old son Ahmad. Dennaoui, best known as Big Hass as the host of the first FM hip-hop radio show in Saudi Arabia, moved to the United Arab Emirates with his family after they knew of their son's condition.

They once lived in Jeddah but decided to move to Dubai because they want their son to be in an area with the right atmosphere so he would excel. He said since they got to the area a year ago, Ahmad started to speak and became more aware of the people around him and his surroundings, Arab News reported.

Dennaoui also talked about how parents in Saudi Arabia treat their children with autism and Down's syndrome. He shared, "They're boxed down, put in houses with a 'nanny' while the parents are out, and that really brings tears to my eyes."

Due to this known fact, Dennaoui talks about his son having the condition whenever he goes on air and when he posts about it on social media. He uses and continues to use the hashtags "#AutismNotADisease" and "#AutismParent" on his posts related to his son.

The radio host and father-of-one also said despite his pure intentions to promote awareness regarding autism, some people leave rude comments on his post. He said one time someone questioned him about why he is so proud of a son who is disabled. Dennaoui said he then engaged in the discussion and he believed that is what is needed in order to impart knowledge about the condition.

More on autism, Quebec just announced their plan to help children affected with the condition to reach their full potential. Montreal Gazette shared the research and training are the first steps in the plan.

This is the first time officials in Quebec made such move. In the area, more than 5,000 families are affected by autism but only one fourth of them have the opportunity and access to technology, tests and therapies related to the condition.

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