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 2019 is “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation”
The WAAD 2019 observance at UN Headquarters will focus on leveraging the use of assistive technologies for persons with autism.
For many people on the autism spectrum, access to affordable assistive technologies is a prerequisite to being able to exercise their basic human rights and participate fully in the life of their communities, and thereby contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Assistive technology can reduce or eliminate the barriers to their participation on an equal basis with others.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities acknowledges the instrumental role of assistive technologies in enabling persons with disabilities to exercise their rights and freedoms. It obliges countries that are party to the Convention to promote availability and use of such technologies at an affordable cost, to facilitate access to them, and to undertake or promote research and development into new such technologies.
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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