Newstalk Radio will make history when the station begins airing the nation’s and the region’s first Autism radio series SPECIALS with Maia Chung. The programme is the radio version of the region’s first Autism & Disabilities television series SPECIALS aired on JNN CTV PBC Jamaica and Caribvision.
The television show within two months of its start last year was shortlisted among 11 programmes out of 41 for a Jamaica Broilers Fairplay nomination for best programme yielding Fairplay and change from its content. Both the TV series and radio show were created by Chung and focus on issues relating to the disorder Autism as well as the issues surrounding other types of mental and physical challenges. Newstalk radio is donating the time to the Foundation, which is a non-profit non-governmental organisation. Chung is the Managing Director and Founder of The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation, which has as its chief mandate using communication to enact social change.
To date the Foundation started April 28, 2008 has raised just about two million dollars for various Autism and Disabilities based causes. She explained that the power of mass media works when "people know how rough it is to live a life with a challenge it often times prevents abuse and creates more tolerance which leads to more help for a community of persons who are largely unnoticed and quite marginalised in most countries".
She continued "I hope that by creating interest around Autism in particular the Foundation can see more young Jamaicans becoming interested in becoming medical professionals and teachers focus on the health and education needs of the Autist, where there is a serious lack at the moment".
Chung’s son 8 year old Quinn is Autistic and is the inspiration behind her work in this area. The show begins the day before the start of Autism month March Tuesday 31 and will air every Tuesday thereafter between 10 to 11:30 pm. The format will be interviews and call in with appropriate music to complement each episodes theme of discussion. Jamaican specialists in the field have said that that Autism is now one of the leading diagnoses among Jamaicans currently, it mainly affects males.