Petra Dillmann – Nominee for President-Elect  – 2020-2022


Together we are stronger:  Bringing together the Autism Community
Unity is Strength.  Knowledge is Power.  Attitude drives Change.  Communication and Networking are the Keys. 
Passion for and about Autism and in my ambition to create an inclusive environment for everyone, my aim is to continue to work to promote the above:
  • by doing my best to draw together Autistics, parents, families, community and the professional fraternity as each is vital in enhancing the growth of a cohesive society;
  • by advocating for and promoting the rights of Autistics to be in line with the UNCRPD and the European Charter of Rights for people with Autism;
  • by continuing in listening (and hearing what they say) to Autistics, presuming competence, seeing their potential, accepting without judgment and believing in them;
  • by channelling patience, kindness and humility in growing wisdom to become aware, understand and break through the challenges and increase courage to continue.
  • by focusing to unite diverse communities and working together for the common good to meet the objectives of the WAO as stated in our constitution, in short:.
  1. to promote among all people and nations the highest possible quality of life for people with autism and their families;
  2. to strengthen the self-awareness of persons with autism, to develop their personality, self-respect and sense of responsibility ;
  3. to advance the rights of people with autism and their families;
  4. to create a common bond of understanding among persons with autism, their parents and families throughout the world ;
  5. to promote the interests of persons with autism and their families;
  6. to promote the highest possible level of knowledge and competency among professionals of autism.

Questions are welcome and may be sent to: .


Petra Dillmann:  Who am I and where do I come from:

My parents emigrated from Germany in the 1950’s and I was born, raised and live in Namibia, Africa.

I am married to Heiner, and am mother of 2 adult sons, one of whom was diagnosed with Autism at 2yrs old.

I have been involved in the NGO disability sector and Autism in South Africa and Namibia since 1992.  Founder member of the Autism Association of Namibia with affiliated branches in Swakopmund and Otjiwarongo.  Founder of Special Needs Network Namibia.

  • Member of Autism South Africa since 1993.
  • National Vice Chairperson of Autism South Africa for many years, on the Executive for more than 20 years.
  • Was a member of 2nd World Autism Congress organising committee (Cape Town 2006).
  • Council member of the World Autism Organisation since 2002, and Honorary Secretary of the WAO since 2014.
  • Member of 5th World Autism Congress organising committee (Houston, USA 2018).
  • Recipient of the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship award.
  • Director of Autism Association of Namibia.

I have gained knowledge on Autism by reading and researching about Autism from persons with Autism and from many professional publication, as well as by attending and/or presenting at many conferences, webinars and courses on all aspects of Autism and related conditions.

Attended workshops and seminars on the topics of child development, intervention programmes, Gestalt play therapy,

TEACCH (Training & Education of Autistic and Communication Handicapped Children),

START (Strive Towards Achieving Results Together),

(AAC) Augmentative & Alternative Communication, Makaton, (FC) Facilitated Communication,

Sensory Integration, Floortime, and many more.

At the Autism Association of Namibia, we combine the various approaches to tailor an eclectic programme for each individual.

Over the years I have built up a library of over 1000 relevant books, now housed at the Autism Association of Namibia Centre, the most important ones being the ones written by persons with Autism.  For many years, I have been sharing my knowledge with parents, teachers and professionals all over the world, and up-skilling those interested in learning how the autistic mind functions and how Autistics can be assisted.

I continue to network and learn from Autistics and their lived experience of Autism, reading and webinars, searching for best practice programmes and ideas to use as a base for autism services in Namibia as well as networking and sharing it with the world.