When Malik Dahlan and Sarah Yamani noticed their third son, Hamza, was not progressing at the same rate as his older brothers, they were on a quest to find answers and resources. Soon they were pointed to the Lurie Center for Autism at Mass General where their son received a comprehensive evaluation and a diagnosis of autism as well as a plan to act upon. Empowered with this diagnosis, and knowing that early intervention was key to success, they returned home to London only to find committed individuals up against a fragmented healthcare system. The family was in a fortunate position however, and able to put the pieces together; today Hamza is thriving.
Their family’s journey has inspired Malik and Sarah to spearhead an international partnership, the Autism Center of Excellence (ACE), aimed at creating a more seamless, integrated system of care for all children and families who are struggling with autism. With a philanthropic investment from the family, the Lurie Center is utilizing telehealth, education and research collaborations to extend its expertise to an international audience. Institutions such as Imperial College London and Cambridge University, among other universities in the UK, are all keen to collaborate and make this transatlantic initiative a reality.