World Autism Awareness Day 2021: UN chief lays emphasis on need for 'inclusion, equity' at workplace

The International World Autism Day is observed on 2 April every year, with the aim to make people aware, understand and accept fellow humans with autism and extend them support.

The United Nations primarily uses these international days and weeks designated to a cause to educate people on the same, "mobilise political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity".

What is autism?

A person with autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may face challenges of social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and non-verbal communication. Since it is a spectrum disorder, every single person with it has a different set of strengths and challenges. Similarly, the manner they tackle their issues also ranges from highly skilled to severely challenged.

While some people with ASD may need a lot of support in their daily lives, some only partial and some may lead their lives independently as well. The Centre for Disease Control, the national public health agency of the United States, says that autism affects an estimated one in 54 children in the country today.

In his annual message on World Autism Day, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, said that while the people join hands to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a key goal must also be to ensure "a more inclusive and accessible" environment recognising the contributions of everyone, including people with disabilities.

He says the pandemic has no doubt created new obstacles and challenges but adds that efforts to reignite the global economy "offer an opportunity to reimagine the workplace to make diversity, inclusion, and equity a reality".

Speaking about the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and to ensure no one is left behind, Guterres said the world must realise the rights of all people with disabilities, including persons with autism, ensuring their full participation in social, cultural, and economic life.

History

Following a continuous investigation and research on the subject, the United Nations General Assembly, on December 18 of 2007, adopted Resolution 62/139 and set 2 April of each year as the World Autism Awareness Day.

The objective is to inspire member states to take action in raising awareness about people with an autism spectrum disorder. It also encourages the members to support the research finding new ways to improve wellness and inclusion.



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