Tisha Campbell-Martin has a 12 year old son. His name is Xen. When he was diagnosed with autism, Campbell-Martin became an advocate for mothers of autistic children everywhere. She and her husband, Duane Martin, have dedicated their time to spreading awareness about autism to other parents.
In 2011 she created a film with other mothers of autistic children called Colored My Mind. The short film is going to be screened at the MegaFest International Faith and Film Festival which takes place over Labor Day weekend. She has also published a book that is titled My Brother Doesn’t Want to Play which is meant to help siblings of autistic children deal and teaches them how to deal with having a sibling who is “different” from society’s standards.
During an interview with Essence.com she spoke about the film and also spoke about how African-Americans can become more educated about autism and change their perception of it. She also spoke about how her son is dealing with it now that he is almost a teenager.
When asked about the film and what it entailed, Campbell-Martin stated that it was about autism and how African-American children often get diagnosed years later than children who are Caucasian. She also said that the film won at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival. She explains that she believes that the late diagnosis is because it is not discussed enough in African-American and Hispanic communities, so people don’t know the early warning signs.
When asked about her son, she said that he tells her he doesn’t have autism anymore. He was diagnosed as an infant and did not speak for a long time. He now has a girlfriend and is not in any special needs classes, in order to keep him integrated with the other kids at school.
She hopes that people will walk away from the film festival with a better understanding of autism and the early warning signs so that children are diagnosed and treated as early as possible.