Every year on April 2nd Autism Awareness Day is observed around the world. One of the United Nation’s international health-related days, its purpose is to raise awareness about autism and eliminate the stigma around the disorder. Many international Autism Organizations take this day to join forces and educate people, as well as further medical research.
Background of Autism Awareness Day
The holiday was proposed to the United Nations by the Qatar representative Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, on November 1st, 2007 and adopted on December 18 of the same year. April 2nd was later established as the day for the holiday, and it was first observed in 2008.
The proposal had the support of all of the member states but did not go to a vote, as it was considered by the UN to be a matter of human rights. This is one of seven health-related holidays observed by the United Nations.
On this day, the UN invites all of its member states and private health organizations to take part in raising awareness with the public about autism.
What is Autism?
Autism is a developmental disability that affects and impairs a person’s brain functions. autistic people have trouble with social interactions and communicating with others, as well as struggling to participate in some activities. Autism is a spectrum of neurodiversity that can impact anyone regardless of gender, however, statistics show that although 1 out of 68 children is affected by autism, boys are 5 times as likely to be affected.
Awareness regarding autism has notably changed over time; it has become better diagnosed in the United States in recent years. In the early 20th century many people were undiagnosed and went untreated and only the most severe cases were recognized, people who suffered from autism were often ostracized and institutionalized. Nowadays, research is advancing more each year, and Autism Awareness day is crucial when it comes to educating parents, teachers, and society.
Autism Awareness Day events
One of the biggest health organizations in the United States, Autism Speaks, is pushing autism research further with their annual initiative Light it Up Blue, which is meant to spread awareness about the disability.
Around the world, there are events to raise the profile of autism and eliminate the stigma around it, in the shape of informative panels led by health organizations and experts, which are meant to also help not only parents with the resources they need to help children with autism, but also health professionals with information about special treatments.
There are also special events for people with autism such as creative workshops, and exhibitions with the art that they create. Some NGOs have special clinics where families can go to in order to speak with pediatricians, therapists and people who can help them treat their children.
Every year there is a theme for Autism Awareness day and the theme for 2022 will be 'Inclusive Quality Education for All'.