UN chief calls for greater inclusion, marks World Autism Awareness Day – Global Issues

In his message tick World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2, the head of the United Nations revealed how COVID-19 The pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities affecting those with the disease.

“On this World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to an inclusive, equitable and sustainable world for people with autism,” he say.

Capabilities and needs change

About one in 100 children has autism, forming a diverse group of conditions related to brain development, based on World Health Organization (WHO).

Although features can be detected in childhood, autism is often not diagnosed until much later.

WHO says the abilities and needs of people with autism vary and can develop over time. While some are able to live independently, others are severely disabled and require lifelong care and support.

Isolation and discrimination

The Secretary-General highlighted how the United Nations supports the right of people with autism to fully participate in society, in accordance with Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, commitment “leaving no one behind”.

When Agenda 2030 Committed to reducing inequality through social, economic and political inclusion for all, including people with disabilities, Mr. Guterres said many people with autism still live in isolation, said Mr. Guterres. are discriminated against and disconnected from their communities, in educational institutions – or even within themselves. houses.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of these inequities through the loss or reduction of services at schools, families, and communities,” he continued.

“We need to ensure that the rights, perspectives and well-being of people with disabilities, including those with autism, are an integral part of building better out of the pandemic.”

A four-year-old boy with moderate autism receives support at home in Cambodia due to school closures in response to COVID-19.

© UNICEF / Thomas Cristofolett

A four-year-old boy with moderate autism receives support at home in Cambodia due to school closures in response to COVID-19.

A more inclusive world

The Secretary-General said the solution lies in having more community-based autistic support systems in place.

“We must also establish inclusive education systems and training programs that allow students with autism to access the educational path of their choice. And we must provide technological solutions so that people with autism can live independently in their communities,” he added.

Mr. Guterres stated that all these efforts must focus on active consultation with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

The UN will host a virtual event on 8 April on World Autism Awareness Day, with the theme ‘Inclusive Quality Education for All’.

Despite progress over the past decade towards increasing access to education in general and especially for people with autism, the pandemic has caused a disruption in learning that has retard growth and deepen educational inequalities.

The theme is intrinsically linked to the focus of last year’s meeting on ‘Inclusion in the Workplace’, where panelists emphasized the critical need to promote inclusive quality education for people with autism so that they can reach their full potential and achieve sustained success in the labor market.

This year’s event is organized by the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), with support from civil society partners including the Autism Advocacy Network, the Autism Global Project, and the Specialisterne Foundation.

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