World Autism Awareness Day

The twelfth annual World Autism Awareness Day is being observed on April 2, 2019. Hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world will be lit in blue in recognition of people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly referred to as Autism.

Autism is a life-long neurodevelopmental condition which will come to light in the early developmental period, this means it cannot be ‘cured’ but may look different across the life-span of the individual and progression of the disorder. As a result, the way in which in-coming information is processed is different – the world can look and feel vastly different for these individuals. Children and young people with autism show signs of severely delayed language, or a regression in their ability to use language to communicate.

World Autism Day is one of only seven official health-specific UN Days. It brings individual autism organizations all around the world together to aid in research, diagnoses, treatment, and overall acceptance for those affected by this developmental disorder.

Autism-friendly events and educational activities will take place all month too, to increase understanding and acceptance of autism in support of a more inclusive world. The main aim is to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from this disorder so that they can have a full and satisfactory life.

The UN and the WHO promote the following ethics in support of this endeavour:

  • Pledge Blue to increase a global understanding and acceptance of people with autism;
  • Share Blue share stories and experiences and participate in events;
  • Wear Blue throughout the month of April.”

The 2019 World Autism Awareness Day is observing the theme of: “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation”, to better address the need for more participation and collaboration worldwide in regards of bringing in technology also to the effect of autistic individuals.

António Guterres – The UN Secretary-General says, “On World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to promote the full participation of all people with autism, and ensure they have the necessary support to be able to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Life, however, is not so grim for people living with ASD and their near and dear ones: Research on new therapies continues, recognition and acceptance of Autism and Autistic people into ‘mainstream’ society is slowly but steadily growing thanks to efforts from multiple parties.

Furthermore, examples from history show how this disorder need not let anyone be bogged down in their personal or professional endeavours. From legends like Albert Einstein (Theoretical Physicist), Emily Dickinson (Poet), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Music Composer) to new age champions like Sir Anthony Hopkins (Oscar Awarded Actor), Clay Marzo (Championship Surfing), Dr. Vernon Smith (Nobel Prize Awarded Economics Professor), many have shown us that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, we can always overcome them to achieve our dreams. Whether they’re changing the world as we know it, entertaining us in our favourite movies, books, poems, and sports, overcoming the odds to become leaders in their field, what all these hugely successful people with autism show is that being on the spectrum need not be a barrier to success and a normal life.

Here’s a moving account of a mother who proudly shares her autistic son’s life, for all of us to take inspiration from. Let’s go ‘Blue’: http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/world-autism-awareness-day-i-am-sending-you-hope-35783953.

References:

  • Autism Speaks, https://www.autismspeaks.org/world-autism-month
  • UN, 2019 World Autism Awareness Day observance, http://www.un.org/en/events/autismday/
  • 15 Successful People with Autism Who Have Inspired Millions of People,  October 8, 2018 – Lifehack: https://www.lifehack.org/805825/successful-people-with-autism