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World Autism Awareness Day: From Surviving to Thriving

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Every year on April 2, the world commemorates World Autism Awareness Day to shed light on the daily struggles of people living with autism and promote the rights of persons with disabilities. 

This year, the United Nations (UN) theme “Moving from Surviving to Thriving: Autistic Individuals Share Regional Perspectives” aims to provide an overview of this condition from the perspective of individuals with autism.

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) as a means to affirm and promote the full realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

Autism is a lifelong neurological and developmental disorder that emerges during early childhood, regardless of gender, race, or socio-economic status. 

Also known as Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), this condition manifests through a range of characteristics such as 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.

The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families, and communities.

The stigma surrounding autism is also considered a huge obstacle in the face of diagnosis and treatment. This is an issue that the United Nations (UN) believes must be addressed by both public policy-makers in developing nations, as well as donor countries.

Through adequate support and acceptance, those on the spectrum will be allowed to enjoy equal opportunity and assume active and effective roles in society.

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