Other People's Words

Adonya Wong and Dr. Carolyn Fuentes talk about racial and ethnic disparities in the autism community

Posted in Uncategorized by Tera on June 8, 2010

This is an interview at the Autism Women’s Network with Adonya Wong and Dr. Carolyn Fuentes about racial and ethnic disparities in the autism community.


Sharon daVanport: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AWN Radio. Today is Monday, March 22, 2010. My name is Sharon daVanport and with me today is co-host Tricia Kenney. Hi, Trish.

Tricia Kenney: Hi there. How’s everyone doing?

Sharon daVanport: I’m doing okay. I’ve just only had a million and one things to do. How about you? You have a busy day ahead?

Tricia Kenney: Pretty much, yeah.

Sharon daVanport: As I was explaining to you before our show began and chatting with Adonya Wong, our guest who will be on in just a moment, I’m gonna have to cut out a little bit early today; I’ve got about four appointments scheduled back to back with my kid and myself. I’ll be on for the first little bit of the show and then, Tricia, you’re just gonna have to fly solo for the rest. [Laughter] Is it an okay thing?

Tricia Kenney: Yeah, we’ll be okay.

Sharon daVanport: Good. For our topic today, we’re gonna be discussion racial and ethnic disparities in the autism and cross-disability communities and touching upon some of the history, the myths and facts, and how it really impacts the families—most especially in special education services in our schools. Dr. Carolyn Fuentes is an educator and she’s gonna be one of our guests today as well with Adonya Wong, and they’re both authors. Tricia, have you read Dr. Fuentes’s book, Autism?

Tricia Kenney: I haven’t.

Sharon daVanport: You haven’t? It’s really good.

Tricia Kenney: I’m not a big book-reader; I’m sorry.

Sharon daVanport: She’s a researcher. You can tell by the book that she’s really into research. Adonya wrote the children’s book In My Mind. We’ll go ahead and bring Adonya on now. Adonya, are you still with us?

Adonya Wong: I am; thank you ladies for having me.

Sharon daVanport: Thank you for being with us today. This is a really important topic, and I’m just so glad that you’ve decided that you will be a part of this with AWN Radio. I know we’re wanting to make a commitment to addressing this topic on a regular basis and really moving the conversation forward on a subject that’s really not talked a lot about.

Adonya Wong: I appreciate it very much. It’s really something that needs to be discussed, so I commend you for really opening that doorway to be able to speak about it more openly.

Sharon daVanport: Adonya, I wanted to start off by picking up on a conversation you and I had a couple weeks ago. We were talking about where it really starts. It starts in the home and with families. You were explaining to me, from your experience&meldash;what you believe and feel from your community—why it is something that’s not talked about. Can you just take it from there and explain it how you want?

Adonya Wong: Just from my own family history, you just didn’t talk about certain things. It seems to be a cultural no-no to discuss anything outside of the family dynamic, particularly the immediate family. That’s any subject that’s nobody’s business. It just seems that if there is something that is not perceived as “normal” for lack of a better word, you just definitely don’t talk about that.

If you have a special needs child within that family, oftentimes in my own experience the support network is not really there. It’s not so much an acceptance of somebody being within the family with a different ability; I just think that, traditionally, it’s only something you can deal with on your own: “This is our business.” It stems from there. I think with that cultural teaching, some families today may still feel: “This is just how I was raised. I’m not supposed to talk about anything.” I think right now, families just really feel alone and don’t know where to turn, because there’s nowhere to turn within the family environment.

Sharon daVanport: If it’s not talked about in the family, they don’t even go outside of that and talk to the community.

Adonya Wong: Exactly. Absolutely. If it’s not discussed within [the family,] you definitely don’t discuss it outside of it. You don’t talk to strangers about these things. For me, when Nicholas was diagnosed, I did feel very much alone. I was already a single parent at the time; I’d been raising him solo since birth. Then four years later, I get the diagnosis and I really didn’t know where to turn.

Everybody goes to the Internet to look for answers. I felt even more alone, because I didn’t find anybody like me who was openly talking about this. It wasn’t until last year that I even learned about Toni Braxton and actress Holly Robinson Peete coming out and talking about their children on the spectrum. I went: “Oh!” I still don’t really hear a lot from the two of them, and so people still aren’t stepping outside of that box. I think that’s crucial.

Sharon daVanport: We were chatting before the show, and you said you feel like you’ve been out of touch. You haven’t been over on Twitter in a while. I want you to know: Holly Robinson Peete is quite active over on Twitter right now.

Adonya Wong: I think I’ve seen her lately, and I [unknown] to see her tweets. I did follow her once I learned about it; I loved her as an actress and moreso, I was like: “Oh, let me add add her to my community.” So the few times that I am able to be on there, I am blessed to see her tweets on there. That warms my heart, because that’s really needed. Sometimes, people are looking for that sense of comfort—someone who gets me, who understands my history. Definitely, kudos to her for speaking out more.

Sharon daVanport: Don’t you think that a lot of it has to do with perhaps the racism that goes on anyway? Then you add a disability or a challenge on top of that, and I’m sure that’s probably the fear: that, gosh, you don’t wanna set yourself up to be a target or appear that way.

Adonya Wong: It could very much go along those same lines. It does seem that children of color—and we’re not just talking about the African-American community—the demographics within the special education classrooms, traditionally you will see more black children or Hispanic children placed in those environments. They could just have a learning disability and not necessarily have a neurological disorder.

Historically, I think that there’s been some targeting in that regard. Some people say: “Oh, no, that’s not true.” But research has shown that that is absolutely the case. So when you see these numbers and you’re a parent or a family and you have a special needs child, then, yeah, that can definitely cause some hesitation: “I don’t want my child to end up in that classroom,” as if that’s a horrible thing to happen to the child, but they’re just looking for one less label. That could actually be something that’s going through their minds as well. It seems to add more stress. [Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: Do you think there’s also an expectation within the black community, as far as parenting and as far as children are concerned? I live in a predominately black area, and it always seems to me that the children are expected to do a lot more at a younger age and aren’t quite as coddled.

Adonya Wong: Right. What’s really interesting to me is, if you would look through the history since we came over to America, we’ve been placed in that workforce environment. At a young age, yes, the expectations oftentimes can be there: “You should be able to do this; you’re five.”

But I can only speak from my own experience. I no longer look at my parents and blame them for what I felt I may not have gotten. I did spend a couple of decades…What teenager doesn’t think they’re not loved?


But I did spend quite a few years: “I didn’t get this; I didn’t get that. For shame!” and pointing my finger. Then I had to step back and say: “I don’t know their history.” I knew my grandparents [unknown]. That kind of explained a lot. It’s just generational, and I think we’ve reached a crucial point where certain vicious cycles need to be broken. People have to step away from that chain that binds them, for lack of a better word, and really start raising our children differently.

Sharon daVanport: You really stepped outside that box when you wrote that book. [Laughter] What inspired you to write the book? Was it for your son, or—?

Adonya Wong: [Laughter] To be quite honest with you, I tell this story and it’s the God’s honest truth: I was just minding my own business, sitting by myself at the time. I was in Oklahoma and my ex-husband walked into the room and said: “You know, you should write a children’s book.” I looked at him, like: “Seriously, I can’t believe you’re breathing in my space right now.” I was just not in a really good mood that day. He left the house, and I’m telling you, he had probably just gotten in the car and I just opened up Word. I just say it was divine guidance. It came out, and twelve more stories came out of me that same week, and I didn’t really think about it.

Once the book was published and I was able to see the finished product, I went: “Wow.” I feel that that was just the message Nicholas wanted me to put out there. I’d never intended to write a book. I wasn’t an aspiring author or anything like that. It just kinda happened because it needed to happen.

It’s been a beautiful lesson for me, too, because it’s really helped me in removing certain lenses and how I look at the world. I judged a lot of things; I had my own perception; I had my own opinions about certain things, right or wrong. The book has really helped me be more compassionate. The book’s title is In My Mind: The World through the Eyes of Autism. It’s available on Amazon, and also through my website. It’s available in stores; if they don’t have it, you can ask for it. I do donate a third of the royalties I get to certain autism organizations, so it’s not just for me. It’s so I can give back to the community as well.

Sharon daVanport: Very good. I do believe Dr. Fuentes is on the line. Hello, Dr. Fuentes?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yes. Hello.

Sharon daVanport: How are you today?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Oh, just fine. I did something special for you this morning. I took a poll in my community—on my street—real quickly. There is a 90-something percent of blacks in my community now, when it used to be 95 percent white and mixed with Italian when I first moved here. (We’re talking about 23 years ago). In my community, as far as they’re concerned, they don’t have the knowledge of autism. They have no concern of it because it’s never been brought to them as a major disability. They pretty much have looked at common disabilities like ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and things like that, and this is what they’re saying.

When I had given it a rate, 90 percent were stating that they didn’t even know about autism being a main disability in schools. They thought ADD/ADHD,dyslexia and there’s a little dyspraxia. That’s an uncommon one as well, but that was coming up.

Sharon daVanport: They actually know about dyspraxia and not autism? That’s surprising—wow.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: That’s another one that’s uncommon. The other thing that I found out: they don’t do the research because it’s not brought up by the teacher. It’s not brought up by the professionals in the system. The other thing I found out is, we have pride. A lot of our parents have a lot of pride and denial. I asked: Is the reason why we’re not finding out or doing the research because we’re not acknowledging it ourselves? Are we blaming ourselves? What is it that you feel is happening?

It could be probably pride. When we hear about something, we’d rather just shoo it away and hope that it’s a phase that our children are going through. Another thing, we blame ourselves. A lot of them say they’re at fault or the father’s at fault. There’s a lot of single parents here that are renting out.

I asked one of the teachers that I know very well in the system She states that because the medical specialists and so forth that are sent to the schools are not there presently all day or a certain amount of hours like a nurse would be. They’re also not specialized in autism. People just don’t have the resources.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. So, really, the schools don’t have the resources in some communities to even have the appropriate staff to even identify children on the spectrum?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Exactly.

Sharon daVanport: Wow. There’s just such a huge gap there. I know that Adonya and I have talked about this: it has to carry over. These children don’t get diagnosed and then they go into adulthood, and then you see [them in] the judicial system and the prisons.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yes.

Sharon daVanport: Huge. I don’t even know the stats exactly, but I know that it’s predominately African-Americans in prison. Why is that? A lot of them, had they had supports and intervention and correct diagnoses, it wouldn’t be like that. It has to carry over.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: I look at it the same way you do: at the end result. You’re saying incarceration. We’re not sure if it is because of the disabilities; we don’t have a poll or statistics. We have no information right now at hand. But it could be a possibility, because of the fact that if they are diagnosed—I can’t even say “when” they are diagnosed. In the case of my [Writ], he wasn’t diagnosed until late with autism. But the early diagnosis that he had taken was ADD. So it was a misdiagnosis, because the common [evaluation] was to look at what was already common.

Sharon daVanport: I see.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: We were just talking about a community knowing what’s abnormal, and knowing what’s in their school system. Don’t forget, we’re used to hearing people saying “mental retardation.”

Sharon daVanport: Right. Now, I heard that there’s a bent towards a misdiagnosis of mental retardation in the African-American community. That tends to be something that is one of the misdiagnoses. There’s definitely got to be some changes. What do you feel needs to be done, besides doing things like this? We can only do so much, and do so many radio shows. This helps and is a step along the way, but what really needs to be done?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: I grew up in communities where we had a rec center, but we called it a community center. They don’t have them anymore. I think that if we would go around speaking out to the communities…I’m just throwing this out there.

Sharon daVanport: A grassroots effort. That’s why I love Obama so much. I love that mentality, the grassroots effort. Is that what you’re saying? Just get in your communities and start there?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yes, you do. Start at the library. We have a short memory and a short attention span; When we hear something that we’re not familiar with or something we don’t wanna hear, we can’t have a long, drawn-out conversation. It could be something suggestive or just doing flyers or just handing it out—walking around, handing out flyers to people, or meeting someone at the library. That’s easy for you to do. But when you start handing out to the community, they’ll say that’s solicitation; people may get disturbed.

But if you call a very short meeting, maybe just a good 10-15 minutes talking about something. If someone starts asking questions, then you can let them hold over the meeting.

Sharon daVanport: We need to start having these topics addressed at conferences on autism. We need to have special keynote addresses on stuff like this. This needs to be included. This just has to be part of the entire conversation, or people aren’t going to even know that there is a problem.

There really is. Adonya was telling me about this website, Child-Autism-Parent-Cafe.com

Adonya Wong: I think they did a beautiful job with that site.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, it is awesome. It is a wonderful website. It touches on each one of the points that we’re going through. It gives a couple percentages and statistics about different things. It’s a good website, and I looked through it preparing for the show. For all the different statistics that they give—we were talking about misdiagnoses of mental retardation. It says here on the website that: “Black identification for mental retardation is pronounced in the South.” It even depends on where you live. This stuff is huge.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: It is. I was looking at another thing that was shocking. I’ll tell you where I got this from; it’s gonna start a debate. It’s at The Black Community: A Tragic Injustice. [It asked the question:] Is autism more common in dark-skinned people? I couldn’t help but see it. It says:

“In Europe, autism rates are higher in children of dark-skinned immigrants. Dr. Gillberg and colleagues reported that the incidence of autism in Sweden for children born to mothers who emigrated from Uganda was 15%—almost 200 times higher than the general population.”

I’m sure that’s gonna start a debate out there.

Sharon daVanport: Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s flawed in some way, or do you think it’s because they’re identifying it or looking for that?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: I think they just did an overall poll. It relates to the Apgar score, which is “activity, pulse, grimace, appearance and respiration.”

Sharon daVanport: I remember that from when my children were born, the Apgar. [Laughter] Statistics are there, and I don’t like to read too much into those. But they’re interesting to look at, because it at least opens up the conversation, and you know that something’s very pronounced in one way if the stats are showing it that way, and the studies are coming up. These studies can be flawed.

Adonya Wong: Dr. Fuentes said something very key when she came online: the pride within the family. That’s what I was speaking of, although I didn’t use that word. She just hits the nail on the head with that one. You don’t talk about stuff. You don’t air your dirty laundry. That’s why I did that blog that my son is not somebody’s dirty laundry. You just don’t talk about these things. I think that has to be crushed.

Also, if you’re coming from a lower-income community, you’re already probably of that mindset: “Well, I’ve got enough things on my mind; I’ve got enough problems. I don’t need to be dealing with this as well.” That is probably how that child is being perceived—as not being as important. They fall through the cracks within their own family environment, so they’re not going to get that help.

And frankly, there isn’t enough support. The school district may not have the funding if there’s a larger number of students that need to be assessed; the money’s not there. So these kids continue to be moved forward and forward and forward ( [sarcastically] No Child Left Behind), and they fall farther and farther back. Carolyn, I gotta thank you; you have my mother’s name. I love saying it over and over.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Oh, thank you.

Adonya Wong: She’s been gone 18 years, but thanks to you, I get to say it. It is true that it has to be grassroots, but we all know that we can’t do it alone. How do you get these families? How do you get a community to come out and say: “Okay, I need help; I need support”? Where that pride is concerned—and I’ve been guilty of it myself as I was raising my son most of his life, and he’s only nine. That “I don’t need anybody’s help; I can do this on my own.”

But I was smart enough that when I had his diagnosis, I realized that I really can’t do this by myself. To heck with my family. That’s how I really had to get that attitude. It was like: “You know what? They’ll come around when they come around.” Also, my son is biracial, so his family is still cool with it. So I look at that word “ignorance” and I slice it in half and consider “ignore.” They’re just ignoring the fact, and people are just stuck in their ways and they don’t wanna change.

So for those of us who are raising these children, we have to break that vicious cycle. We have to say: “It’s not about me; it’s about this child.” I think we talked about that a little bit about that: the parents ask: “Why did this happen to me?” It’s the guilt. It’s also shame. There’s these really horrible emotions that we experience, and I think, whether you’re black, white or Asian, it doesn’t matter. You have these emotions that you just traditionally go through, and hopefully you come out at the end in a better space. These emotions are rampant in the black community, and it’s generational.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: And the breakdown of the family. The breakdown of our family is at a high rate. We don’t have the fathers in place, where we can get that type of nurturing for our children. I’m just speaking as a person that actually was married for ten years, who had support, and then ended up being a single parent for the long term. When you don’t have that supportive family or family member or someone that’s there as a friend, we don’t have that support.

I’m just relating to you, Adonya. I’m gonna add on to what you’re talking about. It’s the breakdown of the family that also is so crucial, that overbears the single mom, that she doesn’t get a chance to even tackle something so serious like this.

Adonya Wong: Right. That’s very true. She’s already doing everything else as the head of the household, and so then you’ve got a parent that’s raising a child by herself—and in the community, it is typically the female that ends up raising the children, because the fathers either were never present or they’ve become absent. My son’s father was absent for almost seven years of his life, and he’s not African-American. But he was still not there, nonetheless.

You’re dealing with all of these other things Because I’ve always been extremely independent and a non-conformist in a lot of ways, it wasn’t until I took my head out of the sand when I kept looking at my son. I realized that it’s not about me. Although I know I gotta keep doing what I need to do, I still have to find support.

Oftentimes, what’s in our own community, even outside the home, it’s still not fair. The educational level is not there. As Dr. Fuentes discovered during her poll, even though autism is something that you hear about all over the news for a couple of years—it’s been really picking up and becoming more of a household name—even with that, it’s: “Well, that doesn’t affect me, so I don’t care.”

They’ll know about Down Syndrome or mental retardation; they’ll know about that. They’ll know about cerebral palsy, depending on where you go within the community, ADHD: “Oh, that child’s just hyper.” They know of the other labels that the children are given, but often, even though it’s out there, because it doesn’t have a look—

Sharon daVanport: It’s an invisible disability.

Adonya Wong: Right. It’s like: “Autism doesn’t have a look, so therefore, it’s bad parenting. It doesn’t really exist,” is how people look at that.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: We have so many children having children. There’s too many of the children having children. So we’re talking about children that are not gonna look this up. If you’re a child, what would make you go and look something up? What would make you do research? You’re talking about a child who’s in high school having a child.

Adonya Wong: Yeah. She’s not educated, so she’s not going to research anything because she was raised in an environment where you just knew what you had to know and that’s pretty much it.

We’re also talking about nutrition. When I lived in Tulsa, I was appalled at what wasn’t available in the predominantly black community. I could get organic food if I just went to another zip code, but I couldn’t get it within my own community. I didn’t understand that. And then when I was with that holistic moms’ network, that really is what spurred Mocha, because I was like: “This doesn’t make any sense, why we don’t have the community initiative so that these communities can be healthier.”

I’m not saying you can prevent autism by eating organic. It’s not that; it’s just the educational levels are across the board. It’s just across the board, the things that don’t seem available in this traditionally at-risk communities. There’s the crux with that. There lies the rub, as they say, and it is unfortunate, but it is reality.

This isn’t a black/white issue, and it’s not what we’re making it today. This is just how the numbers are. You can go to any city—any city—and see the disparities. In special education, it’s even more pronounced, so it’s really unfortunate.

Sharon daVanport: Now, when you say we don’t have to make it a black/white issue, we don’t have to because it is.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: It’s doing it on its own.

Sharon daVanport: It already is that way. People will want to keep their heads in the sand. There’s a comment in the chat room that says: “It’s a poverty issue.” It is; it really is. It’s a poverty issue. Then where do you see most of the poverty? This is something that has to be addressed, because if it’s not, we’re just going to see…

Something that’s really huge in the autism community is now adults like myself and Tricia who are on the spectrum advocating for ourselves, speaking out. The kids who are on the spectrum, they grow up to be adults on the spectrum. What kind of supports they had as children is going to be huge as to where they find themselves as adults.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: I wanna bring up something else, too. You know I always go out in left wing with this stuff, right? [Laughter] I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. But I was on another talk show, and I brought up statistics about what they consider is a normal reading level of how we read—the brain waves. The reading level that we should have shoos away some of the minorities. You were expected to read 250,000 words per minute, 150,000 that you actually hear. This is the normal brain. You had to read 300- to 400,000 words a minute by college. That’s what pushes out a lot of people.

Adonya Wong: The interesting thing with that, too, Dr. Fuentes, is that when you’re coming from a single-parent dynamic…I have one child, and my life is busy enough. I always give kudos to the women that are raising more than one child, but you have to think about how much quality time does one parent have when there’s maintaining the household and going to work? How often is that child being read to? What is the quality that that child is receiving at home?

Oftentimes they don’t get that, so, whether there’s a neurological disorder or not, traditionally they are going to be in the lower percentiles, as far as education is concerned, because of the things that aren’t available to them at home. So that’s where it all starts. It’s not the schools’ fault.

There’s no fault at all and there’s no blame, but it’s key and it’s crucial that it’s the parents that get educated and know that they have support and know that they can reach out, to ensure that these children, particularly once you get between the ages of two and four, which are the crucial years when a lot of the diagnoses are coming out, particularly for autism. I think it’s key that we try to get into these communities and educate them as quickly as we can, and as early as we can, so that parents know that early intervention is available for them. I think that they just don’t know what’s available.

Sharon daVanport: Dr. Fuentes, I wanted to ask you: I think I misunderstood you. Did you say 300,000 words a minute?

Adonya Wong: Yeah, I can’t read that fast.

Sharon daVanport: 300,000? Dr. Fuentes? Did we lose her?

Tricia Kenney: Oh, I think we did.

Adonya Wong: She dropped.

Sharon daVanport: I think I misunderstood her.

Adonya Wong: No, I heard it correctly: it was 250,000 words.

Sharon daVanport: I could not have passed high school then or been to college. [Laughter]

Adonya Wong: Apparently, things have changed, ’cause I’m like: “Wow.” I take my time when I read. I’m like: “Deh deh deh deh.” Little Red Riding Hood skipping through the forest on my way to Grandmother’s house; that’s how slow I read. I do it intentionally. I like to be able to catch and make sure I don’t miss any messages. I am not a speed-reader, and those are some big numbers. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Right. Dr. Fuentes, are you back with us?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yes, I am; I had to get on my cell phone. I’m sorry.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, okay. Did you say 300,000 words? I don’t wanna get off topic, but I just wanted to clarify that, because I thought I misunderstood you and then I saw someone in the chat room put a questionmark by 300,000 words. How many words a minute did you say?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: They expect you by college to read 300-400 words per minute to even intake, as far as your reading level.

Sharon daVanport: Oh! You mean 300 words out of a thousand.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yes, yes.

Sharon daVanport: 300 out of a thousand; not 300,000. Okay. [Laughter]

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: I’m sorry; I’m sorry. Did I say a thousand? I didn’t mean to. [Laughter] I started a debate that should’ve never happened.

Sharon daVanport: I was going crazy; I thought: “Boy! Am I hearing things, or what?” Tricia, I’m just gonna have to excuse myself like I said that I would. I’m sorry to have to cut out like this. What a rude hostess I’m being. I just wanted to thank both of you, and to let Tricia take over here. You’re still with us, right, Tricia? I still see you here in the chat room.

Dr. Fuentes and Adonya, we are definitely going to make this a regular topic that we address on AWN Radio. I know that I’ve talked to you both about doing an article, too, for our website. We’ll be in touch to make sure that we continue the conversation and get these broadcasts scheduled regularly, to keep this conversation going, okay? You guys have a good rest of the show. Bye, everyone.

Tricia Kenney: Bye, Sharon.

[Sharon hangs up]

Tricia Kenney: I do want to address the difference between a predominantly white school and a predominantly African-American school. We’ve gone from one to the other, and the difference is astounding. My kids are both autistic, and when they were at the predominantly white school they had all kinds of programs for reading; they had all kinds of supports; they had all kinds of things within the school system to help them.

Moving to a predominantly Africa-American school, they have nothing. They literally have nothing. They used to have these book reading programs, where the kids would take home 4-5 books a week and then bring them back in this little red bag or whatever. They have absolutely nothing like that there now. It makes you wonder: Just how much are they dedicated to teaching these kids?

The school is obviously really lacking in speech therapy, occupational therapy, gym, music class. All those things are lacking. They’re at a big disadvantage going into these inner-city schools. Even though they’re both in an autism classrooms here—they’re almost completely African-American in there—you know that they’re getting less prepared, less skills for what they need in life, and to be actually brought into mainstream with other kids. I don’t know if that’s the same thing where you are, but I see it as this huge disservice to these kids.

Adonya Wong: Usually when the budget cuts go, they usually cut—there’s no way to say certain things delicately. The inner-city schools are the ones whose programs and the funding usually get cut first before the suburbs, which is unfortunate. I’m sure Dr. Fuentes has probably got some statistics for it. [Laughter] She’s got some great numbers for us today.

But that’s just what I’ve noticed. There’s not really a why it is. We could turn it into a racial debate, but I’m not the kind of person that would move in that direction. Black children are already labeled moreso than non-black children. If there is a school that doesn’t have the funding,then it’s just “Get them through, get them through, get them through.” I don’t know why. I wish I could really understand the mindset of people that don’t want to help all children. I really wish I could grasp why it is that that’s just not available. But I don’t know why that happens. I really don’t know why.

Tricia Kenney: Well, it is discouraging, especially when you see our town just spend $400 million on a new stadium. [Laughter] Kids are going to school, they’re not getting very good lunches and not getting the benefits that they should be getting in those crucial years.

Adonya Wong: I think, too, though, advocacy starts at home. What I mean by “home” is that the community has to fight for the children’s education. I think if nobody’s advocating for their children and then they’re also not receiving any support within their home environment, then the school district’s gonna continue to do what they choose to do. Obviously, that’s nothing, particularly for the special needs community. If the community doesn’t care, and the educators within that community don’t care, then the government is not gonna care. They’ll just continue to take that money and move eon, and put it into ridiculous things like $400 million stadiums.

Tricia Kenney: Right. I’m trying to get Carolyn back on the line here. [Laughter]

Adonya Wong: I was wondering. I was like: “I know Carolyn’s got some stats. I know she’s got numbers.”

Tricia Kenney: It keeps not letting me do it.

[Tricia hangs up briefly to try to call another number to get Dr. Fuentes back on]

Adonya Wong: Thank you, everyone, for listening today. It’s definitely a topic that needs to be discussed, and hopefully with some grassroots initiatives we’ll be able to make some changes. I think AWN is definitely going to be a catalyst for that. Kudos to the women who are seeking change.

Tricia Kenney: Okay. I’m back.

Adonya Wong: Okay, good. I was talking to myself. [Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: I’m so sorry about that. I hope Carolyn calls back in, ’cause it looks like we completely dropped her now. [Laughter]

Adonya Wong: That’s okay. She’ll probably phone in when she realises she’s [not back on?] As I was saying, the money will be allocated elsewhere if people aren’t rallying. They call it “grassroots” movements for a reason.But I think people have to step outside of their comfort zones. I think within the black community, we definitely have that ironclad box sealed up.

Tricia Kenney: I remember seeing a mom to one of the kids that my children go to school with at the doctor’s office. Normally, all the moms are like: “Oh, let’s talk autism!” and all that stuff, and she didn’t say a word to me. [Laughter] It’s just like: “Oh, okay.”

Adonya Wong: It’s like: “That’s my business.” Oftentimes we may forget that our children are going to be out in the community without us. That’s one of the biggest things that rips at my heartstrings all the time: Will my son be okay when I’m gone? If I don’t do anything for him now…And I don’t just advocate for Nicholas. I’m a voice for all children within the special needs community as a whole. But if I don’t speak up for him, how is he going to know that it’s okay for him to speak up for himself when he’s older?

Tricia Kenney: Right. Are you back with us, Carolyn?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yes, I’m finally back. I’m sorry. [Laughter]

Adonya Wong: We were talking some numbers, and I think Tricia’ll probably revisit the question. I said: “Carolyn will more than likely have some stats for us on that one.”

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Doing the math, right?

Adonya Wong: Yes. “She’ll have the numbers.”

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Oh, I’m sorry. That’s just me.

Tricia Kenney: We were just actually discussing the lack of services and just general stuff schools don’t have when you’re talking inner-city schools: music classes and gym classes and as much therapy as you would get in a suburb.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Actually, that’s true. Our education is underrated. Basically, we have lower income—someone mentioned that in the chat room. We do—lower income communities do have the hardest time trying to get a higher education. The classes are different. The teachers are different. The levels of their capacity is different.

I’ve been on that side of the spectrum. I’m a teacher myself; I’m a computer teacher who just went back to school for Early Childhood. What I see is that you have very equipped teachers coming into the system, but because the system itself tells you how to teach, what to teach, you may come in with a lot of knowledge but you have to underrate your knowledge for the sake of the system.

Adonya Wong: And that’s a tragedy.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: There’s only so much knowledge you’re going to disperse out to these students and the parents.

Tricia Kenney: God. What do they expect for the future of our country when we’re doing this?

Adonya Wong: As that website shows when they’re talking about the disparities in special education, traditionally, the wealthier districts will have a higher education, and the lower-income ones will not. It’s like I said: Advocacy, the parents and the educators and the communities have to rally. If no one’s rallying, then change is not going to occur.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: True.

Adonya Wong: If nobody’s looking for things to get better, things will not get better.

Tricia Kenney: Right. You can’t just accept that that’s the way it is and this is how we have to live. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Adonya Wong: It doesn’t have to be that way, but traditionally, that is how it is, because that is the generational mindset. That’s the genetic mindset that’s been passed down: “This is just how things are.” Oftentimes I think it’s a beautiful thing when somebody comes from an at-risk environment and you see them do great things with themselves. That’s that one person that said: “No. It doesn’t have to be this way, and I want better for me.”

When somebody has a neurological disorder or some other special need, they don’t have the tools. If we’re not giving them the tools to fend for themselves, they will remain extremely vulnerable and naïve to how things work. How do you get people to talk about stuff that don’t wanna talk and wanna keep things to themselves? You said you were at a doctor’s office and a mother chose not to chat, because that is just that genetic mindset: “That’s great that you wanna talk about autism in your child, but this is my business.”

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Also, in my community, it’s called “snitching.” You remember when you said “No Child Left Behind”? It’s called “No snitch over here.” No one likes to talk about anything. You can see an incident occur, and you might as well just let it go, because no one has seen it. That type of mentality is also the same mentality that they use in life, period.

Tricia Kenney: Do you think it maybe works as an advantage to some extent, because so much is expected of a child at a younger age?: “You’re still gonna learn to tie your shoes; you’re gonna make it in life.” And so the parents are more adamant about teaching skills? Eeven if there isn’t an official diagnosis, they notice: “Yeah, my kid’s a little bit behind,” and so they push a little bit harder and make sure that they have those skills in place?

Adonya Wong: We’re taught life skills, and I’ll use another word: survival skills. We’re taught how to survive: “You gotta make it on your own, because nobody’s gonna do it for you.” That’s the mindset that we’re raised with. Those were the teachings that traditionally we’ve received. I’m sure some people will argue: “Well, that’s not how my family was.” Good for you, but traditionally and historically, that is the mindset. You’ve gotta learn how to survive, and so we are only taught survival skills.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Right.

Tricia Kenney: Right. And I think that’s a big difference. I come from a Hispanic background, and it’s the same thing. You’re a little kid, but you’re cooking. [Laughter]

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: That’s true.

Adonya Wong: Absolutely, ’cause nobody’s gonna cook for you. When you get older, you’re not gonna have a chef. You’re taught how to survive, but the flipside of that coin is when it comes to really, really thinking for yourself and having those very crucial tools. Oftentimes, that’s left out. We’re taught how to fend for ourselves, versus anything else. But how do you change generations in your thinking?

Tricia Kenney: That’s the thing. Generally, as a kid, you’re put out into the community a lot earlier; you’re out wandering the streets by yourself a lot earlier, whereas our kids never do that.

Adonya Wong: They’re more latchkey kids.

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Now if you think in terms of that, maybe one of the solutions or suggestions is that if maybe we were to group together and go around to high schools and speak, talk to some of the principals, would they allow us to speak in some of the schools about these issues?

Tricia Kenney: I’d imagine so. They have parent meetings at every school, like once a month or once every two months or something like that.

Adonya Wong: The clincher with that one, Dr. Fuentes, is: You gotta have the parents that are willing to step in front of people and step outside that box and say: “This is a problem.” It only takes one person. Soon, you’ve got a whole group of people rallying around behind you going: “Yeah! I think that’s a problem.”

But you have to be the first one to say something, because that’s just how the community is: “I’m not gonna be the first one to step up and say anything about that.” You can change. As Ghandi said: “Be the change you wanna see in the world.” It’s really just baby steps, and one of the thigns I’ve been trying to do with my son’s school.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: I’ve been looking at the chat room. Someone suggested: “Unless you have a backing from the local government.” Niko, I think it’s someone named Niko.

Tricia Kenney: Savannah, yeah.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: You know, you are so right. I know, Adonya, you’re correct about how we shoo things away, how we have to have that support behind us before we speak. But like you said, someone has to take the to the forefront to even come out and speak on those terms. But I know that we have to come up with something, and I know that we’re gonna be spreading out this conversation forever. But I know we’re gonna have to come up with some result of something that we have to do.

We talk about it and talk about it. Just like my home, I could’ve talked about it till I was blue in the face. But to actually go physically and do something to help my son. Now he’s 22 years old, and he’s in college. But I’m still helping him in college, so yeah, it never stops.

Tricia Kenney: Another thing I thought of when my children were still attending school—I pulled them out and I’m homeschooling them now—I was thinking: “Gosh, I wonder how much the parents of the other kids in this classroom are into the autism community?” They don’t have computers. So many of us have gone through periods where we didn’t.

So it’s like: “I wonder if maybe I brought in some information and just some handouts to have the teacher send home with the other kids for their parents to read or check out or something. I wanted to start a little support group, or just meet with the other parents of the autistic kids in the two classrooms that my kids were in. There wasn’t anything like that. There was nothing like that set up.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: It sure isn’t.

Tricia Kenney: The teacher said: “Well, I’m thinking about doing that, too,” and so on and so forth, and of course, nothing ever happened.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Exactly.

Adonya Wong: A lot of people, it’s great to think about something, but actions sometimes speak louder than words. Like I said, Like I said, when I was involved with holistic moms’ network, one of the mothers who came to the open house, she’s a black mom, and she said: “Do we have anything like this within the black community?” At the time, this was pre-Mocha. I said: “Well, why don’t I just start a little parent group?”—off to the side, it has nothing to do with the organization.

I set up all the meetings and newspapers, got the fliers and all this stuff. I could hear the crickets in the room. Nobody came. I had e-mails upon e-mails upon e-mails about: “Oh, this is a good thing.” “Finally.” “Great to be amongst our own and we can talk about these things, ’cause you’ll understand what I’m talking to you about,” and nobody showed up.

You still have to keep pushing forward. What I’m learning is that I’ve gotta keep doing what I need to do, and I have to keep calling the school to say: “So, Autism Awareness Month is coming up and I really think it’s the time to talk,” and just open that doorway. You have to persevere, and you really have to be persistent if it’s that important to you.

That, I think, is really the key word: it has to be something that’s important to you. I’m not saying that parents look at their kids and think that they’re unimportant, but a lot of people don’t know how to advocate because they’re being raised to be quiet.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yes. Exactly.

Adonya Wong: You’ll be raised to speak out about other things that you may feel are racially based, but when it comes to special needs, oftentimes, people will just say: “I don’t wanna talk about that. I don’t want you looking at me to begin with; I don’t need you to be looking at me for that, too. That’s just one more label that I have to deal with.” I really don’t think that the parents understand that it’s the children who will be hurt by that way of thinking in the long-run.

Tricia Kenney: Right. Especially when it comes to becoming an adult and trying to figure yourself out, and not knowing that there is any help, and not knowing how to ask for help. Changing that mindset, that’s a really big task.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Another thing I notice as a teacher: the parents are on a more vulnerable level. I know when I wasn’t a teacher and I would speak up about: “What is the subject of autism? What is this disability?” If I ever even brought it up to a teacher, she would act upon it as if I’m vulnerable, as if I’m to blame, and then would talk to me that way because I didn’t know what terms to use; what to say about my child. All I know is that they come at me saying that this is what’s going on with my child at the IEP.

When I became a teacher, I said: “Okay, I’m done with this. I’m gonna become a teacher. I need to learn what it is that they’re coming at me with, and then come back at them.” I started doing the same thing. I started being a little bit more into the terminology, talking about IEPs, break it down, explain what it is. Then I’d say: “Okay, from that perspective, can you hear what I’m saying? Does he understand you as well as I understand him?”

The problems they were having with the miscommunication: you have a child that has autism, he’s stationed in the schools, but they’re not listening to him, especially if he doesn’t even talk. They’re not paying attention to him. This is where we as parents—forget me being a teacher, forget our professions—we have to come and speak up for our children. What they do is they just sort of override everything that they’re doing or everything that they’re about.

It’s just a program. To them, it’s just a program. There are some teachers that have a heart, but mainly in the system, they look at it as just a program. They have your child, because he becomes a number required to get the grant. I’m just being forward. I’m a very direct person. They’re looking at your child as a number, instead of a human being.

Tricia Kenney: Yep, exactly.

Adonya Wong: I will have to agree with you on that one. In Oklahoma, I could homeschool Nicholas, and in [unknown] they’re like: [whispering] “I don’t think so.” When I withdrew him in Oklahoma, I could tell that it was like: [sarcastically] “Oh, great. We’re going to lose that money.” But because I was educated enough and I was able to express what his needs were and why I felt they weren’t being met at school, I refused to debate. I stood my ground. I withdrew him and was like: “Your $127? I don’t care what you get for him.” I don’t know what the number was, but I didn’t care about that.

I think for a lot of people within this community, if you’ve already got enough on your plate, sometimes at the end of the day, you hear a lot of: “I’m just tired, and you want me to learn about what? I have to read up on what? I have to educate and start advocating? I’m just tired. I’m already doing a lot as it is.” Again, it is the child that suffers because of that inability to educate.

My son’s father—his paternal side—they’re Sicilian and they’re like: “I don’t know what to do with him. What do I do with him?” I just stare at them, because I’m like: “You’ve known about autism as long as I’ve known about autism. We’ve all known about it for five years.” Their inability to understand him at a deeper level frustrates me, and I see how they interact with his cousin who has ADHD. They’ll pump that kid with sugar like it’s nobody’s business. They’ll not even be remotely aware of how detrimental that is for him.

So people looking in, they say, “Do you have any support?” No. My family? No. The black family and the white family, I’m like: “Nope.” I don’t have that kind of support. A babysitter, but would I feel comfortable? No. God knows how he would come home. He could be hopped up on something or I’d have to detox him.

I’m just saying, if we don’t have that family support, we’re gonna stay within our own little cocoon and just not reach out. You look towards the family for support first, but if you feel you don’t have it you’re not going to wanna step out and say: “Okay, I think I’ll ask a stranger to help me” when you’ve been told not to talk to strangers. So it’s an unfortunate thing. It’s very unfortunate.

Tricia Kenney: Another thing: even if you do reach out for support from Head Start or a birth-to-three program, they come to your home and then they ask you to fill out a circle of your support. Who do you have to go to to lean on for this or that?” You’re sitting there going: “No one. It’s just me.” [Laughter] You don’t have the family, relatives, friendships, anything like that. They’re like: “Oh, well, we need to work on that,” and it’s like: “What is the point of this? If you’re supposed to be the support, why are you telling me to go find support?”

Adonya Wong: Exactly. That’s where that vicious game of ping-pong comes in. Somebody thinks that a stranger’s coming in to help them, and then they tell you to go back and start looking for support. You say, “Well, I don’t have any.” Ping-ping-ping-ping-ping-ping-ping, and then eventually, the family just drops out and their back to square one. They’re not gonna reach out again.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Another point to stress on what the both of you are talking about: a lot of parents give up their children with disabilities, not knowing what it is. Because of the pressure, they actually turn them into the county. They turn them over. I’ve heard many parents do it.

Tricia Kenney: If you’re living in poverty, chances are you’re dealing with CPS anyway. If they see that you’re not handling it well, they get a lot of money for taking kids with disabilities. Your chances of that child just being taken away, whether you wanna give them up or not is much higher.

Adonya Wong: Right.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yeah, and that’s another issue.

Tricia Kenney: That could be another whole show. [Laughter] Again, it boils down to money, your social status. Unfortunately, that’s where all the minorities lie, is in poverty range. What can we do to fix it?

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Right. We do have to come up with some type of solutions. It might be the smallest steps, but you’ve gotta take smal steps to make something major happen. I think autism has come a long way already, information-wise.

Tricia Kenney: Yep. But I do think it takes people who are ready doing advocacy work, and someone to rally support in their own communities and bring people together to try to educated people: other moms, going to schools and whatnot. If you do have extra time where you’re doing the extra work in advocacy or in helping other parents out with IEPs and so on, take that little extra step and try to educate more people in your city.

I totally agree with what you said, Adonya, about just how exhausted parents are, and how asking anybody to read a book about this or go to a class about that is not really a viable solution. They’re just not gonna make it. I know there’s a solution somewhere; we just have to—

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Tap into it?

Adonya Wong: I think this show is gonna be a catalyst for change. As Dr. Fuentes said, as individuals, we just have to take the initiative and speak out and not be afraid. A lot of people, when you start bringing in racial disparities, all the sudden the room clears. But we just have to be persistent, and also try to validate [unknown].

Tricia Kenney: I think that’s a good idea where Carolyn was talking about doing short spurts of information, like a ten-minute meeting where it’s much more appealing to people. They’re like: “I can’t take an hour out of my day for this.”

Adonya Wong: They’re busy enough as it is.

Tricia Kenney: Right, right. [Laughter]

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: That’s true; I understand what you’re talking about. You have so many things that you’re accountable [to in] your day. Then finally, someone brings up another headache that sounds like a bill. I’m trying to put that in a comical way. It sounds like another bill, and we don’t want to tackle it. That’s the stress.

Tricia Kenney: Right. I think it might help maybe just going to somebody’s house; saying: “Hey, can I come over and talk with you for ten minutes one day?” and just leave it at that. A lot of people don’t like people coming into their home. [Laughter]

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yeah, that’s true. But like you say, it has to be mentioned somewhere so I guess we’re trying to find a location now, where we can disperse this energy and information to people that need it.

Tricia Kenney: Right. If we had the funding, gosh, we could just do commercials and regular advertising.

Adonya Wong: Or you can do better commercials that don’t talk about how autism’s gonna break up your family and steal your child’s soul. We could definitely use the type of service announcements that actually helpful and don’t invoke more fear. That would be nice.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Um-hm. Okay.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. That would help.

Adonya Wong: I would like to see a public service announcement that doesn’t scare people into wanting to just eradicate this through genetic testing. That would be nice.

Tricia Kenney: Um-hm.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Right.

Tricia Kenney: And really, help people figure out what exactly autism is instead of just saying: “We’re gonna come in and [unknown] your kids.” Because that doesn’t benefit anyone.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Another thing I’ve thought about since you guys’ve been talking: if we could get a group of people on Blogtalk radio that just may maybe a commercial, something about autism, just bring it up. I’m not sure if anyone’s gonna do it, but if we can just get a group of us together. I don’t have a show, but Antoine has a show and so many of us do have shows on here, where we can just talk about it, maybe for just a couple of minutes.

Adonya Wong: Yeah, and tag it. That’s a great idea. We tag it, so that when people search for “autism”…I think that’s a really great idea. Rally the community together and, say, put together a ten-minute public service announcement. Then if we have enough tags on it, then maybe we can get some of those shows featured.

Tricia Kenney: That’s really good.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: It could be.

Adonya Wong: I like that idea. I’ve got a Blogtalk radio account and I haven’t used it in forever. But, hey, I’m all for yakking to myself. I do it all day anyway.


Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: It would be good. I would love to do that. I would definitely put my word in.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah, and we can upload it onto their switchboard and then say it during the show at some point.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yeah. Yes. It’s very easy for me to put it in mine.

Adonya Wong: You know how they had a Twitter day. Was it last year, or was it 2008? I don’t remember now. We could have a Blogtalk Radio day, where if people have their own show, particularly people within the community, if they have their own BTR show, just have them set up an episode. Just a ten-minute episode, so that we could just saturate BTR on a particular day, to where it’s just autism-related.

Tricia Kenney: Next month is Autism Awareness Month.

Adonya Wong: I know.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Oh, there we go. [Laughter]

Adonya Wong: I just realized we’re almost over with this month. Yeah, Trish, you can tell Sharon she’s got something else to add to her pile of things to do.


Tell her: “Dr. Fuentes came up with this really great idea, and you’ve gotta coordinate it!” No, I’m joking.


Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: No, but I’m serious. It would be nice. It would be great, really. I don’t mind. Now, you have to put me in something if it’s going to go out, right? [Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: Yes. I really think we should do this. I think we need to [unknown] and really get the details down, and have everybody start recording what portion they wanna add to it and then put it all together. I think that’s a really good idea.

Since it is Autism Awareness Month, we can do a short version and a longer version. The short version, somebody could just play two minutes or three minutes during their programming.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Right. We have to come up with something. Do you want to do something systematic, or individually? How do you want to do this, Trish or Adonya?

Tricia Kenney: I think we should all work together on this and decide what portion we went to talk about or state during the commercial. We’ll just coordinate it all together, and put it all together so that it sounds good.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Yes. Exactly.

Tricia Kenney: I think that would be a really good idea, and I think we should do it. We do have to get going here in a minute, but I would love to invite you guys to start this conversation up in our forums at AWN. I think it’s an important discussion, and I think there are more moms out there that could be talking about this, who hopefully will feel this is a good invitation for them to do so.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Okay. Also, I’m reading the chat room—I’m looking over Antoine’s shoulder—and someone named NudeRadio says: “Send me a message via BTR,” and that she would speak to other producers of NudeRadio “to discuss the possibility of participating.”

Tricia Kenney: Awesome.

Adonya Wong: I think if we have more than one show, I think that would be really fantastic, if we try to get as many of those shows featured on a particular day. That would be really incredible, because the featured ones are the ones that sometimes catch people’s eyes. I think if we could get as many shows as we could featured. Let’s say a month from now, we chose a day and we tried to get probably five shows to actually say: “Okay. We’ve got all these people in the community who [put] together these audios, and badda-bing.”

I think parents need to hear. I think parents need to be their own voice for their children, and I think if they know that they’ve got a global means to really talk about key issues that are really important to them and elicit that response from people, I think that that would be really fantastic. It’d be like Twitter Day, but only on Blogtalk Radio, without the tweets that go by. It’ll just be like our own public service announcements. I think that’d be really nice.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: There’s the baby steps we were talking about.

Adonya Wong: Exactly.

Tk And before you know it, it’ll be on TV.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Exactly.

Adonya Wong: [Unknown] Like I said, you gotta keep talking about it. As Dory said in Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming.”

Tricia Kenney: Yep. [Laughter]

Adonya Wong: I know your children are older, but yeah.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: That’s okay. Now you know where all these ideas come from. They’ve [been always throwing things?] at me since they were little.

Tricia Kenney: Well, thank you both for being on today. It’s been a great show; I had a really good time talking with you both, and we need to get working on this pretty soon. We’ll be in touch. I know you’re both on Facebook, right?

Adonya Wong: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Tricia Kenney: [Laughter] I’ve been on there a lot lately, so it’s my means of communication lately. But I will be in touch with you and so will Sharon, and we’ll get something set up where we can get our audio all together and really put something good together.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Okay. And we’ll send each other the MP3s so we can run them through our shows. Okay.

Tricia Kenney: Yep. Sounds good. All right guys, thank you so much for being here. You guys take care.

Adonya Wong: Thank you so much

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Thank you for having me.

Tricia Kenney: My pleasure. Take care, guys.

Adonya Wong: All righty. Bye-bye.

Tricia Kenney: I’m sorry: ladies.

Adonya Wong: Ladies, guys, we get it. When you’re raising kids by yourself, you say “guys,” so yeah. Stay safe, ladies.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: All right.

Adonya Wong: Bye-bye.

Tricia Kenney: Bye-bye, hon.

Dr. Carolyn Fuentes: Bye. Have a good evening.

Tricia Kenney: You, too, sweetie.

[Adonya Wong and Dr. Carolyn Fuentes hang up]

Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us today. Really great conversation. We will be continuing these talks as well, because this really effects so many people. I think, as we were pointing to, that it’s really an economic issue, and unfortunately, minorities tend to fall in there. We need to discuss it at further length. We talked about it with Carolyn and Adonya, but there are many other people, I’m sure, who would like to talk about this as well. It’s going to be a continuing series for us. But thank you, everyone, for joining us today. Glad you could be here with us, and we will see you next time. Thank you. Bye-bye.



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