Who we are
HAACO is an Ontario-based initiative serving racialized and newcomer groups of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, such as Latinx (Hispanic), Black, Asian, Muslim and Jewish Canadians. While we make special efforts to reach racialized and minority groups, all are welcome to participate in our events. Our aims are as follows:-To educate the public, institutions, organizations and the government about the challenges of raising children on the autism spectrum or with any other type of disability while being part of a minority group. -To raise awareness about and rectify the misrepresentation of the needs of racialized communities, and how stigma and institutional racism may impact their access to services, support systems and other opportunities.-To provide support, dialogue and build bridges of understanding among all members of the autism and broader disability community.-To create safe spaces, cultural and educational events where autism families can come together to celebrate community and learn from one another.
Parents, and particularly mothers, of children with autism and related conditions face a great deal of isolation, stress and mental
health concerns associated with the stigma and lack of supports for their children. These issues are true for all parents, but they are
compounded for racialized communities who are already facing marginalization and discrimination, and in some cases, face cultural
norms which may generate further stigma around autism and related conditions, leaving families without much needed knowledge
and support even within their own ethnic communities, as well as the broader society. Since founding HAACO, Susel Munoz has worked
incredibly hard to bring attention to the complex issues affecting racialized communities that overlap with the challenges of raising
children with disabilities such as autism. In the last year HAACO hosted an expert speaker series, opening up the community to
engaging discussions about autism and related issues. These dialogues allow community members to learn, share ideas, and realize
they are not alone in their struggles, thereby helping to facilitate a form of social support and reduce the sense of stigma and
isolation, all of which can have a protective effect on families’ own health.
HAACO Ontario is in the business of changing and shaping lives. The work we do at our Grassroots is aimed at providing a holistic approach to solving some of our society’s biggest challenges. We make sure our partners are empowered by creating opportunities for individuals and communities.
Behind the Scenes
Here at HAACO Ontario , we see the value in everyone. We want to be a catalyst for positive change, and since our beginnings in 2000, we’ve been driven by the same ideas support, empowerment, and progress. Learn more about our mission, our vision, and how we go about making the changes we want to see.