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 2022 World Autism Awareness Day observance is focused on “Inclusive Education”. The theme ‘inclusive education’ is closely related with focus of last year’s WAAD observance “Inclusive in the Workplace”. In that respect, it is crucial to encourage inclusive quality education for people on the autism spectrum so that they can fulfill their potential and achieve sustainable success in the work place. Inclusive education is the key to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, to Leave no one behind.
Sustainble Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Though major improvements were noticed over past decade towards increasing access to education for all. However, because of the temporary closure of schools during COVID-19 pandemic, studies of more than 90 per cent of students have disrupted. Many students with autism have been disproportionately affected by disruptions to education, as well as services and supports.
Autism is a 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.
Community-based support systems, inclusive education and training programmes, use of available technological solutions can reaffirm the commitment to an inclusive, equitable and sustainable world for persons with autism.
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