Autism and the African American Female: Tommi Lee’s Story (Video)

By Shawndrea Thomas
Special to shades Magazine

Recent studies show that there is a higher risk for autism in African American children. The disease – a developmental disorder that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills – is a “spectrum disorder” that also affects individuals differently and to varying degrees.

The following is a story about Tommi Lee Gillard and her mother’s crusade to educate the African-American community, in Columbus, Ohio and beyond, about autism and it’s impact. Her mother, Toni Johnson, and other parents started Minorities for Community Autism Awareness to find out more about the organization.

For more information, email or Nicole Adams-Fompun at

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