World Autism Day

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    4th Apr, 2019

Context

The World Autism Awareness Day was observed across the world on April 2, 2019 with an aim to raise awareness about autism throughout the world.

About

  • The theme of World Autism Awareness Day 2019 was “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation”.
  • Also, it aims to encourage the Member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about autism.

What is Autism?

  • Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life.
  • It results from a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, mostly affecting children and adults in many countries irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status.
  • It is characterized by impairments in social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted, repetitive behaviour, interests and activities.
  • Though there is no cure for it, therapeutic and behavioural guidance can considerably improve quality of life.

Symptoms:

  • Failing to, or being slow to respond to someone calling their name
  • Echolalia (repeating the same phrase over and over)
  • Repetitive movements, such as flapping hands, rocking back and forth, or flicking fingers
  • limited interest in interacting with other people
  • over- or under-sensitivity to sensory stimuli, such as sounds, smells, colours and lights
  • Getting upset by slight changes in a routine etc.

When was the day proclaimed?

  • The day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly through the resolution 62/139 and was passed in the UN Council on November 1, 2007.
  • It was in 2008 when the UN General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day.
  • World Autism Day is also one of the only four official health-specific UN Days.

Significance

  • For people suffering from autism, the access to affordable assistive technologies is a must to enable them to exercise their basic human rights and thereby contribute to the understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Assistive technology can help them participate on an equal basis with others.
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