World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) is observed every year on 2 April in order to raise public awareness of autism. First WAAD was celebrated in 2008. WAAD highlights the need to help and improve the quality of life of those with autism so that they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.
The focus of World Autism Awareness Day 2018 is “Empowering Women and Girls with Autism”.
Girls with disabilities are more likely to be marginalized or denied access to education. Women and girls with disabilities are more exposed to gender-based violence- physical, sexual, psychological and economic problems. They also have a lower rate of employment as compare to men with disabilities and women without disabilities.
Hence it is important empowering women and girls with autism and involving them and their representative organizations in policy and decision making to address these challenges. There is need for changing attitudes toward persons with autism in recognizing their rights as citizens and in making decisions for their lives in accordance with their own will and preferences; even in matters relating to marriage, family and parenthood on an equal basis with others.
- Autism is developmental disability that manifests during the first three years of life and persists lifelong although symptoms may improve over time. It is a neurological disorder affecting the functions of brain.
- Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may affect about 1in 68 people. Autism is characterized by impairments in social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication; and repetitive behavior and restricted interests and activities.
- The exact cause of autism is not yet known, but scientists believe that it may be associated with genetic or environmental factors. There's no cure for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support, and a number of other interventions may help children and parents.
- These activities will also renew the promise, engraved in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to leave no one behind and ensure that all people can contribute as active members to peaceful and prosperous societies.
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