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World Autism Awareness Day aims to increase people's awareness about people, especially children, with autism. The day often features educational events for teachers, health care workers and parents, as well as exhibitions showcasing work created by children with autism.

What Do People Do?

Many events are organized on World Autism Awareness Day. These include:

  • Panel discussions with autism experts, politicians and non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives.
  • Informational events for parents of children with autism.
  • Conferences and workshops for professionals working with people with autism.
  • Artistic workshops for people with autism.
  • Television and radio shows, as well as newspaper features, about people with autism and their lives.
  • The launch of educational materials for parents and teachers.
  • Exhibitions of art work by artists with autism.
  • The display of posters and banners to increase public awareness of autism.

Special clinics are also organized for families dealing with autism to obtain consultations with pediatricians, educational psychologists and social workers.

Background

Autism is a developmental disability that remains with a person for his or her whole life. This condition affects the brain's functions. The first signs usually appear before a child is three years old. People with autism often:

  • Find social interaction difficult.
  • Have problems with verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Demonstrate restrictive and repetitive behavior.
  • Have a limited set of interests and activities.

Autism affects girls and boys of all races and in all geographic regions and has a large impact on children, their families, communities and societies. The prevalence is currently rising in many countries around the world. Caring for and educating children and young people with this condition places challenges on health care, education and training programs. 

On November 1, 2007, the United Nations (UN) called for one day each year to be designated as World Autism Day. On December 18, 2007, the UN General Assembly designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. It was first observed in 2008.

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