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World Autism Awareness Day 2024: Theme, History, Quotes and How to Show Support – News18

Published By: Nibandh Vinod

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World Autism Awareness Day 2024 theme is colour. (Image: Shutterstock)

World Autism Awareness Day purpose is to affirm and promote the full realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms for individuals with autism, ensuring they are treated equally with others.

WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY 2024: Since its establishment by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, April 2nd has been designated as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). Its purpose is to affirm and promote the full realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms for individuals with autism, ensuring they are treated equally with others.

Over the past 17 years, the UN’s focus has shifted from merely raising awareness to fostering acceptance and appreciation for autistic individuals and their valuable contributions to society. The progress made in this regard is notable, owing to the dedicated efforts of autistic advocates who have tirelessly shared the lived experiences of autistic individuals with the broader community.

World Autism Awareness Day 2024 Theme

The theme ‘Colour’ for World Autism Awareness Day 2024 is to honour and cherish the diverse spectrum of abilities and experiences in the autism community, reports Positive Autism organisation.

It recognises that each individual has a unique colour that represents their personality, strengths and challenges. By celebrating the colours of the spectrum, Positive Autism says, people should commit to valuing and welcoming every person with autism.

This theme encourages one to move beyond stereotypes and misconceptions, highlighting the importance of inclusivity, education and acceptance. By increasing understanding and knowledge, citizens can create a more accepting world for all individuals, regardless of where they fall on the neurodiversity spectrum.

World Autism Awareness Day History

World Autism Awareness Day was first established by the United Nations in 2007 through a resolution sponsored by Qatar and organised by leading international autistic organisations. It aimed to encourage member nations to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and fund ongoing research to improve the lives of those affected by autism.

Today, it is recognised worldwide as a day to promote understanding and support for individuals with autism.

The term “autism” was first coined in 1911 by a Swiss psychiatrist to describe the social withdrawal often seen in schizophrenia. However, it was not until the 1940s that doctors such as Dr. Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger provided a more accurate and detailed description of autism.

Autism, as explained by the Positive Autism organisation, is a complex developmental condition, that impacts an individual’s ability to socialize, communicate, and engage in repetitive behaviours or interests.

World Autism Awareness Day Significance

World Autism Awareness Day holds great significance in raising awareness and promoting understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder worldwide. The event serves several important purposes:

  1. Increasing awareness and educationIt provides a platform to educate people about the challenges and strengths of individuals living with ASD, fostering a better understanding of the disorder.
  2. Promoting inclusionBy highlighting the unique abilities of individuals with autism, the day promotes the importance of creating an inclusive society where everyone, regardless of their place on the spectrum, is valued and included in all aspects of community life.
  3. AdvocacyThe day serves as a call for evidence-based advocacy, encouraging decision-makers to consider the needs of individuals with autism in policy-making and community planning.
  4. EmpowermentIt empowers individuals with autism by recognising and providing resources and support for communities affected by autism, fostering resilience and organisational strength within these communities.

World Autism Awareness Day 2024 Quotes

  1. “Autism is part of my child, it’s not everything he is. My child is so much more than a diagnosis.” – S.L. Coelho
  2. “Autism is as much a part of humanity as is the capacity to dream.” – Kathleen Seidel
  3. “Autism is like a rainbow. It has a bright side and a darker side. But every shade is important and beautiful.” – Rosie Tennant Doran
  4. “Autism doesn’t have to define a person. Artists with autism are like anyone else: They define themselves through hard work and individuality.” – Adrienne Bailon
  5. “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village.” – Coach Elaine Hall

How to show support for individuals with Autism?

There are several ways to support individuals with autism. To support individuals with autism, one can start by taking the time to understand autism and its effects on children and families.

  1. Spread awarenessUse World Autism Awareness Day as an opportunity to educate yourself and others about autism, share information on social media, and organise awareness events in community centres.
  2. Acceptance and inclusionEmbrace neurodiversity and promote inclusive environments in schools, colleges, workplaces, at home. Try to build an inclusive surrounding in all possible private and public spaces where individuals with autism feel accepted and valued.
  3. Support servicesAdvocate for accessible support services, including educational programs, therapy and employment opportunities tailored to individuals with autism.
  4. Empathy and understandingBe patient, empathetic, and understanding. Communicate clearly and in a way that accommodates the individual’s needs and preferences.
  5. Support Autism OrganisationsDonate to or volunteer with organisations that support individuals with autism and their families. These organisations often provide resources, advocacy, and community support.
  6. AdvocacyAdvocate for policies and practices that promote the rights and well-being of individuals with autism, including access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities.

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