We Need More Power to Stand Up: Designing to Combat Stigmatization of the Caregivers of Children with Autism in Urban Bangladesh


Stigma, a critical challenge for social justice, has not received much attention in ICTD literature. Most existing designs that aim to combat stigma draw on an ‘information and awareness’ approach that is often inadequate to address stigma’s deeper roots. To address this gap, we have conducted an interview and design study in five special needs schools1 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, involving twenty-nine parents and nine teachers. Based on our study, we present how the primary caretakers of children with autism face the stigma associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and how misogyny, economic apprehension, and misinformation generate this stigma. Drawing from a range of scholarly work in sociology and psychology, we demonstrate how those factors are rooted in the colonial history and contemporary social hierarchy of Bangladesh. Based on our participatory design sessions, we introduce and analyze potential design directions and connect our findings to the politics of inclusion and social justice in the context of the developing world.

Proceedings of the 2020 International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development