World Autism Awareness Day 2020: Current Theme, History and Key Facts
World Autism Awareness Day makes people understand and accept people with autism, foster worldwide support and inspire people. It is a day that spread kindness and autism awareness.
UN Secretary-General’s message "On World Autism Day, we recognize and celebrate the rights of persons with autism. This year’s observance takes place in the midst of a public health crisis unlike any other in our lifetimes — a crisis that places persons with autism at disproportionate risk as a result of the coronavirus and its impact on society”.
Further, he stated “Persons with autism have the right to self-determination, independence and autonomy, as well as the right to education and employment on an equal basis with others. But the breakdown of vital support systems and networks as a result of COVID-19 exacerbates the obstacles that persons with autism face in exercising these rights. We must ensure that a prolonged disruption caused by the emergency does not result in rollbacks of the rights that persons with autism and their representative organizations have worked so hard to advance”.
World Autism Awareness Day 2020: Theme
The theme of World Autism Awareness Day 2020 is "The transition of adulthood". This year, the Department of Community Development made the announcement to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day. It is commemorated in Abu Dhabi with plans of new equal rights strategy very soon. Their strategy is to cover four areas namely health and social welfare, education, employment and inclusive and equipped communities.
The executive director of the Community Development Sector Dr Bushra Al Mulla, at the department, said programmes must be put in place to meet the needs of autistic people during “this vital transition phase” in their lives.
World Autism Awareness Day: History
The United Nations family always promoted the diversity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force in 2008 and reaffirmed the fundamental principle of universal human rights for all. The main aim of the convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.
It also ensures that all children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives. On 2 April, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared as World Autism Awareness Day bypassing the resolution A/RES/62/139 to make people aware about the need to help improve the quality of life of those people suffering from autism so that they can also lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of the society.
What is Autism?
Autism is also known as Autism spectrum disorder that is a lifelong neurological disorder or a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socioeconomic status. The term Autism spectrum means a range of characteristics.
It is characterised by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped pattern of behaviour. In other words, we can say that Autism is a brain disorder that affects the ability of a person to communicate with others. It basically begins in childhood and lasts through adulthood.
Types of Autism Spectrum Disorder
1. Autistic Disorder: It is also known as classic autism. It is the most general form of autism. People suffering from this disorder usually face difficulty in language interruption, social and communication challenges, unusual behaviours and interests. Several people with this disorder may also have an intellectual disability.
2. Asperger Syndrome: People suffering from this order have mild symptoms of autistic disorder. They might face social challenges, unusual behaviours and interests. Therefore, we can say that people with Asperger Syndrome do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
3. Pervasive Development Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) - It is also known as typical autism. People who do not meet the criteria of autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, maybe diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People who suffer from PDD-NOS have milder or fewer symptoms of autistic disorder. The symptoms may cause only social and communication challenges.
World Autism Awareness Day 2020: Celebrations
On this day several international communities, hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes and communities around the world come together to provide support and love to the people with autism.
All month several activities and events take place like Autism-friendly events and educational activities with an aim to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism.
To educate and make people aware of autism is important. As we know that the rate of autism in all the regions of the world is high and so it is important to make people understand that people with autism need care, love, and support otherwise it can have an impact on the individuals, their families and communities.