This Sunday is April 2nd 2017, which may just be any other day for some people but to many it’s a day to bring awareness about autism. This all began on December 18, 2007 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, supported the campaign for a World Autism Awareness Day through the current 62nd UN General Assembly Session, garnering consensus support from all United Nations Member States.
This UN resolution declares WAAD as one of only four official health-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health issue. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Many people who aren’t directly affected don’t fully understand what autism is or how it works. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.
Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Many organizations urge parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.
When we bring together autism organizations all around the world, we will give a voice to the millions of individuals worldwide who are undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help. Please join the movement in an effort to inspire compassion, empowerment and hope.