World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day on 2 April every year, encouraging Member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) throughout the world.
It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution “62/139.
World Autism Awareness Day”, passed in council on 1 November 2007, and adopted on 18 December 2007.
It was proposed by the United Nations representative from Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and supported by all member states.
This resolution was passed and adopted without a vote in the UN General Assembly, mainly as a supplement to previous UN initiatives to improve human rights.
World Autism Day is one of only seven official health-specific UN Days.
The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and acceptance for those affected by this developmental disorder.
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).
In 2014, WAAD coincided with Onesie Wednesday, a day created by the National Autistic Society to encourage people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to show their support for anyone on the autistic spectrum. By wearing a onesie or pyjamas, participants are saying, “it’s all right to be different”.
For the past years, each World Autism Awareness Day has focused on a specific theme determined by the UN.
- 2012: “Launch of Official UN “Awareness Raising” Stamp”
- 2013: “Celebrating the ability within the disability of autism”
- 2014: “Opening Doors to Inclusive Education”
- 2015: “Employment: The Autism Advantage”
- 2016: “Autism and the 2030 Agenda: Inclusion and Neurodiversity”
- 2017: “Toward Autonomy and Self-Determination”
- 2018: “Empowering Women and Girls with Autism”
- 2019: “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation”
- 2020: “The Transition to Adulthood”
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