World Autism Awareness Day 2020: Significance, history and important facts
On 2 April every year, World Autism Awareness Day is observed to recognise and celebrate persons with autism.
On 2 April every year, World Autism Awareness Day is observed to recognise and celebrate persons with autism. The World Autism Awareness Day this year will be observed amidst a global coronavirus outbreak.
Autistic people are greatly dependent on their support systems and networks and hence according to the United Nations require everyone to come together to meet their needs.
“Universal human rights, including the rights of persons with disabilities, must not be infringed upon in the time of a pandemic,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.
He further maintained that “we must ensure that a prolonged disruption caused by COVID-19 does not result in rollbacks of the rights of people with autism.
History of day
On 1 November, 2007, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly approved eight draft resolutions, one of which was to designate a day for World Autism Day.
The Assembly designated 2 April as the annual day for the World Autism Awareness Day from 2008.
The ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ (CRPD) came into effect on 3 May, 2008. According to Don MacKay, the chairman of the committee, the CRPD aimed to “elaborate in detail the rights of persons with disabilities and set out a code of implementation”.
Any country member of the UN that “ratifies” the CRPD agrees to legally “treat persons with disabilities as subjects of the law with clearly defined rights as any other person”. The said countries also have to change their legislation in accordance to the international standards laid out in the treaty.
According to the UN, autism is a lifelong neurological condition that is mainly characterised by unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.
Autism comes under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), where spectrum means a range of characteristics. There are four types of ASD – Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Development Disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
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The common link was found to be in a set of neurons that are common to both the brain and the gut.
There is no cure for autism but early diagnosis and intervention with therapies does improve the long-term outcome.