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Eastern Florida Faculty Member United Nations Conference Speaker
March 10, 2015 - Dr. Nicole DeCaro knows autism and the debilitating problems it brings
to those afflicted and their families.
Her son, Phillip, 21, is autistic and the Eastern Florida State College business instructor has devoted herself to raising awareness about the disorder and getting help for those suffering from it.
That activism is taking DeCaro to the United Nations where she will speak March 13 at the U.N.’s 20th Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.
The purpose of the New York meeting is to promote awareness of the global healthcare issues that are facing women and seek solutions.
DeCaro will discuss the autism epidemic and related developmental disabilities, and press for the need to provide more and better services for intervention.
“I’ve always been an advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves so I’m very much honored to do this,” says DeCaro, the coordinator for the college’s Entrepreneurship Program on the Cocoa campus.
“Early intervention and education programs can make children with autism grow into adults who have a degree of productivity. They can contribute a great deal and we should celebrate every little bit that improves their lives.”
When her son was young, DeCaro quickly found that “services were not even close to adequate to help those with autism.”
She waded into the fight to get that changed, pushing nationally for programs to combat autism, gain acceptance for those stricken with it and that assist family members who struggle to provide care.
She has also taken her campaign to Africa, where she is working with the Nigerian government to establish a center for autism education and therapy.
“Autism isn’t even recognized there so there’s a lot of work to do to start creating awareness,” says DeCaro, who serves on the Board of Directors for the USA-Africa Chamber of Commerce.
“Not much has been done to reach people around the world and I want to play a role in providing needed information.”
The U.N. meeting is part of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment
of Women. Information presented at the conference will also be discussed at a later
session in Beijing, China.