World Autism Day was first declared by the United Nations seven years ago. Here are the powerful words of the current United Nations Secretary, General Ban Ki-moon, to mark the 2014 commemoration:
“This year’s World Autism Awareness Day is a chance to celebrate the creative minds of people on the autism spectrum, and to renew our pledge to help them realize their great potential.
To measure the success of our societies, we should examine how well those with different abilities, including persons with autism, are integrated as full and valued members.
Education and employment are key. Schools connect children to their communities. Jobs connect adults to their societies.
Persons with autism deserve to walk the same path.
By including children with different learning abilities in mainstream and specialized schools, we can change attitudes and promote respect.
By creating suitable jobs for adults with autism, we integrate them into society.
At this time of economic constraint, governments should continue to invest in services that benefit persons with autism.
When we empower them, we benefit current and future generations.
Tragically, in many parts of the world, these individuals are denied their fundamental human rights. They battle discrimination and exclusion. Even in places where their rights are secured, too often they still have to fight for basic services.
World Autism Awareness Day is about more than generating understanding; it is a call to action. I urge all concerned to take part in fostering progress by supporting education programmes, employment opportunities and other measures that help realize our shared vision of a more inclusive world.”
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We couldn’t agree more with Secretary Ban Ki-moon. Awareness is the first step in moving forward for those in our communities with autism. We’re taking the Secretary’s words to heart along with so many others around the globe to educate and take action to benefit our loved ones with autism right in our own community. Won’t you join us in this mission?