Dr. Ade Awe
Special Care DentistREAD MORE
Special Care DentistREAD MORE
Executive Director & Founder of Cradle Lounge Special Needs InitiativeREAD MORE
President and CEO of Behaviorprise Consulting Inc. and Behaviorprise College of Business and Health Studies, Toronto, Canada.READ MORE
Works at National Autism Unit, Royal Bethlem Hospital in LondonREAD MORE
Writer and Editor, a Copywriter and Producer, a Voice Actor and DirectorREAD MORE
Professor and Interim Director, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillREAD MORE
Founder of The Color of Autism FoundationREAD MORE
Board Certified Behavior AnalystREAD MORE
International Behavior Analyst and Qualified Autism Services PractitionerREAD MORE
Special Needs Advocate and AuthorREAD MORE
Special Education and Inclusion SpecialistREAD MORE
Expert in Art therapy and AutismREAD MORE
Performer and Production ProfessionalREAD MORE
Board Certified Behaviour AnalystREAD MORE
Speech and Language TherapistREAD MORE
Special Care Dentist
Dr Ade specializes in special care dentistry for children with Autism.
Dr Awe is from Osun State, Nigeria. He moved to the United States as a teenager and attended The University of Texas, where he majored in Nursing. After graduation, he worked 6 years as an emergency room nurse before returning to dental school at the University of Maryland. While in dental school, special needs were close and dear to his heart, so he sought opportunities to volunteer at several special needs events. At these events, he completed comprehensive exams, cleanings, and fillings, amongst other procedures. After graduation, he decided to further his education and specialized in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Meharry Medical College. He is currently in his final year of residency and continues to work closely with special needs patients to provide optimum dental care. His top priority is the well-being of his patients
Executive Director & Founder of Cradle Lounge Special Needs Initiative
Solape Azazi is the author of the children’s book titled “My Friend Has Autism”. A book about understanding and acceptance from a child’s perspective of what autism is.
She is an IBCCES-certified Autism Specialist, and an active member of the Global Autism Project Team focused on providing resources, culturally relevant training and collaborative community need to support, empower and champion autistic individuals locally.
She founded Cradle Lounge Special Needs Initiatives in 2019, a Non- Governmental Organisation set up to advocate and empower autistic individuals and their caregivers with tools required to provide an improved quality of life and inclusion within society by providing culturally relevant support and training programs to increase awareness, acceptance and inclusion.
President and CEO of Behaviorprise Consulting Inc. and Behaviorprise College of Business and Health Studies, Toronto, Canada.
Lanre Duyile is a professional Behavior Analyst and Entrepreneur. He is the President and CEO of Behaviorprise Consulting Inc. and Behaviorprise College of Business and Health Studies, Toronto, Canada. With almost 20 years’ diverse experience in business and developmental services, Lanre operates two (2) day program facilities for people living with developmental disabilities in Ontario, Canada. He works in collaboration with Government-funded agencies in Ontario to create and implement evidence-based behavioral treatment and supports to improve the lives and learning of people living with developmental disabilities.
Lanre is a board-certified Behavior Analyst, is a sustaining member of the Ontario Association for Behavior Analysis (ONTABA) and a member of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA), and an approved provider of behavioral services in Ontario. Lanre co-authored an article on the Treatment of Pica Disorder, 2018 published in the peer-reviewed journal Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
Works at National Autism Unit, Royal Bethlem Hospital in London
John-Paul Horsley was born in Accra, Ghana, in 1978. Studied Law and Business studies at Westminster College in 1994, then completed a Teaching degree in 1998 at Lewisham College.
He always had a keen interest in the music industry and was signed as an artist by Sony Music in 2001 in London, England. With his music group Big Brovaz, John-Paul sold in access to 3 million albums worldwide and continues to perform globally today.
He developed a profound interest in Autism when his firstborn son Richard-Michael was diagnosed. Of John-Paul’s 4 sons, 3 have been diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum. John-Paul and Sons have done many ‘autism awareness campaigns’ in the UK, shedding light on the condition.
John-Paul was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2017 at age 38.
John-Paul now works at the Royal Bethlem Hospital in London and Jeanette Wallace House with the Community Mental Health Teams in Croydon.
John-Paul’s main aim is to change the narrative of what Autism is about and shed more light on the condition itself. Autism is something John-Paul has lived with throughout his life, but the condition never stopped him from becoming successful in many different professional fields.
Writer and Editor, a Copywriter and Producer, a Voice Actor and Director
Remi Olutimayin is the first voice director for animation in West African history. He is a writer, voice actor, & he teaches voice acting. A producer of animation, audiobooks, & documentaries, he’s also been part of memorable projects, most recently the recently launched “Nuzo and Namia animated series” and “Ajaka, Lost In Rome”
Professor and Interim Director, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Brian Boyd, Ph.D., is the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor in Education and interim director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the past Vice President of the International Society for Autism Research. Dr. Boyd is quite engaged in research that involves the most vulnerable, and often marginalized, populations. As a special educator by training, much of his research has involved the development and evaluation of evidence-based practices that could be implemented within school and home contexts. His more recent work has focused on risk and cultural resilience for autistic children of color and their families, in particular Black families. Dr. Boyd’s research has been continuously funded by federal agencies such as the Institute of Education Sciences and National Institutes of Health. He also serves on multiple national boards in the U.S. that are dedicated to improving the outcomes of autistic persons and those from historically underserved communities.
Founder of The Color of Autism Foundation
Ms. Camille Proctor is the mother of a teen son and an adult daughter. In 2008 shortly after her son’s second birthday, he was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. As she searched for support services for her family, she soon realized a disparity in the black community. In 2009 she founded The Color of Autism Foundation to support African American families with children on the autism spectrum. The Color of Autism Foundation is a US Non-Profit (501 c3) organization committed to educating and assisting African American families affected by autism spectrum disorders. They aim to help families identify the warning signs of autism early on, so they can become their child’s best advocate. Providing culturally competent support and training will improve outcomes for children in underserved communities on the autism spectrum.
She has served as a diversity and inclusion advisor for both television and film. In September 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed her to the Michigan State Disability Council. The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council’s mission is to support people with developmental disabilities to achieve life dreams. Author of a CNN Essay “For the Walter Wallaces of the world, the police are not the answer” (October 2020). In 2021 she co-authored a research paper “A culturally grounded autism parent training program with Black parents”.
She obtained Diversity Equity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University in January 2023.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
My name is Camiella Hay, and I am a Licensed, Board-Certified Behavior Analyst and a Certified International Behavior Analyst. I began my journey almost 14 years ago working directly with young children who had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and other developmental diagnosis. I felt this was my calling and in 2013 began the process of becoming a BCBA. I have a specialization in working with younger children, however I have also increased my skills and experience with other age groups (teens and adults), as well as with ASD and a secondary diagnosis. I have worked internationally with many families, as well as in Canada and the United States. I have published work on parent training and enjoy training behavior-technicians, families, and other professionals. Children are my passion.
International Behavior Analyst and Qualified Autism Services Practitioner
She is founder and CEO of FOS ABA Centre and Creative Hub, an inclusive creative center that helps to nurture creativity, social skills, emotional intelligence, and other practical skills that all children need to succeed and thrive in the world. Furthermore, the center provides support for children and families with Special Education Needs (SEN) including Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia, and other neurodiverse needs.
Zusi, who was once a banker, resigned from her banking job to chase her passion for working with children. She worked in a pre and elementary school where she picked a specific interest in neurodiverse children. Later in her life, she was blessed with a neurodivergent who gave her a new perspective on life. Due to the additional support that her child needed to navigate his world, Zusi resigned from the school and started early intervention with her child. The tremendous progress that she got through early intervention with her child, especially through creative activities and inclusion with the neurotypicals has encouraged her to always create awareness for the Neurodivergents, and advocate for early intervention and acceptance for the neurodiverse.
In Nigerian society, parents who have children with special needs seldom talkabout it, due to the Cultural stigma associated with it, and also because such conditions are rarely diagnosed correctly when symptoms first start to show. As a result, these children rarely get the help they need on time.
Through her work with FOS, Zusi is actively breaking this culture of silence,and has impacted countless lives along the way.
Zusi is a happily married wife and mum of three – including twins, and has been a school mum to thousands of students over the years.
Special Needs Advocate and Author
Mrs. Tonye Faloughi-Ekezie is a wife, mother and entrepreneur, working as a Commissioning Editor and Producer on major projects for companies such as Endemol South Africa, MNet and Storm, as well as establishing her own production company TEEOF Media.
In 2012 Tonye married her best friend Ugo Ekezie and in 2013 they welcomed their first child, a boy, Ugo Jr., and in 2015 their second child, a girl, Simone. However, Simone had life threatening heart complications from a late diagnosis of Down syndrome. As a result, Tonye and her family relocated to the US and the UK, for the next two and a half years, to save her daughter’s life. In 2018 with the good news of Simone’s heart functioning as normal, they returned to Nigeria.
In 2019 Tonye turned her entrepreneurial drive to children’s content after noticing a severe lack of entertainment representing black and African children, special needs children and those who fall into both categories. Tonye became a children’s book author with the “Ugo and Sim Sim” series, the first worldwide to feature a black main character with Down syndrome as well as producing the first baby board book completely produced in Nigeria.
In 2020 Tonye expanded this further with the creation of “Simone’s Oasis”, a platform dedicated to black and African children. Through books, animation, podcasts, workshops, music and videos, Simone’s Oasis aims to connect to our children’s very sense of self. To establish a new norm of what our black and African children can dream, achieve or even entertain as possibilities, whatever their ability or disability, because to see yourself represented is extremely powerful and what better way to do that than through entertainment.
Tonye has since become a founding member of the Association of Children’s Authors & Illustrators of Nigeria and committee member on the Creative Industry Development Bill for the office of the Presidency. Her hard work, drive and passion means she is now a sought-after panelist, consultant, facilitator and speaker on topics such as the creative arts and education, animation, parenting, early intervention and special needs advocacy, both locally and abroad.
Tonye is looking forward to releasing her next book from the Ugo and Sim Sim series later this year, as well as the Art Ability Project in partnership with The Children’s Art Gallery, curating and exhibiting the artworks of children with special needs.
Special Education and Inclusion Specialist
Ivie Okwuegbuna is an experienced assistant headteacher in an outstanding inner city London primary school with over 25 years experience of driving the development of quality teaching and learning.
She holds an M.A. in School Effectiveness and School Improvement and a qualified special needs coordinator from the Institute of Education London.
She is the Founder of Learning generation and D’Mala coaching where she provides coaching services to families on purposeful parenting and an advocate for children with special needs.
Ivie has a calling for working with children with special needs and enjoys helping children reach their learning potential.
Ivie also completed her leadership and management certificate programme at Harvard University. Ivie is the author of “Superpowers” a book creating awareness of special needs children and their hidden talents.
Ivie is a happily married wife and a mum to a teenage daughter and an adult son.
Expert in Art therapy and Autism
Kunle Adewale is an artist and a development practitioner by profession. He is a graduate of Fine and Applied Arts (Painting and Art History) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. To hone his skills in leadership, he studied Civic Leadership at Tulane University, New Orleans. His penchant for utilizing arts within the healthcare system spurred him into participating in related professional courses such as Arts in Health for Helping Professionals in Charlotte, Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida, United States, and Arts in Health Research Intensive, organized by Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida in collaboration with University College London.
Kunle did not stop there. In his quest for more knowledge in the Arts in Medicine, he also bagged certificates in: Understanding Dementia and Arts from University College London (UCL) and Medicine and The Arts: Humanising Healthcare from the University of Capetown, South Africa. He was one of the selected Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Currently, he is part of a 1-year training programme on Dementia. To reduce the scale and impact of dementia, the 1-year programme brings together a powerful mix of perspectives, approaches, and skill sets from varying backgrounds and disciplines, including neurologists, social scientists, artists, and policymakers.
Kunle’s works focus on therapeutic art projects, specifically emphasising improving health and health-related outcomes. Today, he has impacted over 15,000 beneficiaries through his art programmes in Nigeria, other African countries, Asia and the United States. His organization and works target a wide variety of people living with serious illnesses (cancer, sickle cell anaemia, dementia, mental illnesses, HIV/AIDS, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other neurological disorders), their caregivers (family) and professionals (including physicians). The overarching aim of his works, complementary to Sustainable Development Goal 3, is to “ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of all via arts-based interventions.” These interventions from the arts mainly involve visual arts, design and craft (e.g. crafts, design, painting, photography, sculpture and textiles), music and dance. Consistent with the definition of the World Health Organisation of therapeutic arts-based interventions, the activities of Kunle’s organization consist of multimodal interventions that combine aesthetic engagement, involvement of the imagination, sensory activation, evocation of emotion and cognitive stimulation. The emphasis is on social interaction and creative engagement with themes of health and interaction within healthcare settings.
With over a decade of experience as an artist and educationist, Kunle founded Tender Arts Nigeria in 2013, a social enterprise and non-profit making organisation which positively impacts children, youths, and adult populations with a focus on therapeutic arts, art education, talent development, community development and civic engagement.
Within his organization, he carried out several Arts in Medicine Projects (AIMP) as programme director in over 9 states in Nigeria, covering South-West, East and Northern parts of Nigeria; other African countries such as Tanzania, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and India. He started these projects 2016 to help transform the healthcare experience for patients, their family members, and caregivers by incorporating arts (paintings, drawings, mixed-media, expressive writing, poetry, installation of artworks and crafts) in the healthcare experience. Examples of projects that are organized as part of AIM are The Arts in Medicine Fellowship and Clinicians for the Arts Project – a short-term project that has focused on healthcare professionals’ engagement in arts that helped them integrate arts in their hospital spaces to improve the quality of life of patients; Murals for Health – a hospital-beautification-project, which includes murals and installation of artworks and interior decoration in hospitals and hospices. The murals support the rationale that colourful and calming environments encourage patients to divert their attention from pain.
The Arts in Medicine Fellowship was founded as part of Tender Arts for medical students and professionals in Nigeria to include arts in training healthcare professionals to improve their clinical, personal and communication skills. The fellowship was founded in 2018, in partnership with the Nigerian Medical Association, National Sickle Cell Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, Society of Nigerian Artists, Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, and National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, with the support of the United States Embassy in Nigeria. There is an additional emphasis on international exchange through an established partnership with the Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville.
In 2015-2017, Kunle also served as the international programme director of ICEHA’s Healing Through Art (HTA) Project for survivors of the Boko Haram insurgency and their families in North-East of Nigeria. This project was a therapeutic intervention to help ease the trauma and to overcome the emotional distress the affected individuals had been through. The emphasis was on applying techniques through which thoughts and feelings about trauma are represented in arts without verbal descriptions of the event(s). The project provided art, music, and theatre to refugees in the camps and surrounding settlements, in addition to in-depth training of volunteers and mentors who can execute and sustain the programmes on the ground. There was also the formal assessment of myriads of psychological consequences of the trauma to identify who needed further psychological support. In addition, collaborations with professional psychologists were established for the purpose of lending their time to treat more severe cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other forms of trauma.
Other projects include Artitude, a therapeutic art-based intervention for girls in correctional facilities in Lagos (2014) and Africa4Her. These were arts-based interventions focused on using the arts as expressive tools against gender-based violence and inequalities. Girls and young women in Nigeria were empowered. This is complementary to Sustainable Development Goal 5. It was endorsed by the Lagos State Ministry of Sports, Youth and Development (2016). Artbility was another intervention in Nigeria that partnered with several NGOs to offer art workshops for children and adults living with Down Syndrome, Autism and other developmental disabilities. This was to help them build social skills, confidence and self-esteem through their creative expression, and this project was carried out in 2015.
Through the US Embassy in Nigeria, Kunle’s organizations also co-facilitate an art therapy group with a United States Art Envoy to Nigeria in the Northern part of Nigeria, which includes arts-based interventions specifically focusing on prison inmates. Kunle is an Art Therapy without Borders Inc. member and is the Nigerian representative for Arts in Health Early Career Research Network, University College London (UCL).
Performer and Production Professional
Rashard Dobbins has over ten years of experience working in the entertainment industry as a performer and production professional. He has worked on projects such as The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, All Eyez On Me, and The Internship. He has also served as a liaison for a leading talent agency specialising in cultivating talented youth. His highlights include being a Class Two Fellow of the WKKF Community Leadership Network with the Center for Creative Leadership, a Leadership Deli Spring 2020 Cohort Participant, and a panellist for various youth organizations. He began his partnership with The Color of Autism in July 2022, creating programming for children on the autism spectrum. Programs teaching music theory, podcasting, beat making, DJing, game design, and illustration.
Board Certified Behaviour Analyst
Whitney Hammel Anny is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Autism Compassion Africa, an NGO in Ghana and 501c3 nonprofit in the US. She has over 15 years of experience directly working in the field of autism and applied behaviour analysis (ABA). She holds a Master of Education Degree in Severe Special Education from Simmons College and completed two additional years at the University of West Florida to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Whitney is also certified as an International Behavior Analyst (IBA). Her work has included international dissemination of ABA across the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, India, Ghana, and Nigeria, working with families and schools to create the best outcomes for autistic individuals. She is also a founder of Autism Compassion Services, an ABA company based in Seattle (US), where a significant portion of the proceeds come to support the work of Autism Compassion Africa in Ghana and Nigeria. Whitney has been living in Ghana since 2017 and currently resides with her husband and two children in Prampram, Greater Accra.
Speech and Language Therapist
She works in clinic at home and in schools, assessing paediatrics and adults, supervising junior Speech and Language Therapists and delivering therapeutic intervention, and developing home programmes. She has continued to expand her practice abroad and in 2019 began working with The Zeebah Foundation in Abuja.