Autism is one of only four official health-specific days ever declared by the United Nations. April 2nd 2022 will mark the 13th “World Autism Awareness Day” (WAAD)!
Autism is the only health-specific condition that has more than one resolution that has been passed at a General Assembly of the United Nations.
The fact that Autism was highlighted for such prestigious and significant attention by the United Nations over and above so many other conditions that affects the global community, is due to the fact that this condition is significantly on the increase and is now classified as a global health crisis.
As of 2nd April and for the month of April as “Autism Awareness Month”, around the world there will many public awareness initiatives to increase and develop world’s knowledge of the Autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention.
Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.
Organisations focusing on the promotion and protections of the rights of those with an Autism Spectrum Condition, as well as their families, will give a voice to the millions of individuals worldwide who are undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help.
Research released on March 29th 2012, by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 88 children in the United States has been identified as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These findings also imply a 23% increase in prevalence of Autism since CDC’s report in 2009. (Reference: www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012).
It is believed that these findings are highly unlikely to differ from country to country and the incidence may well be higher in third-world countries such as South Africa, due to the high levels of poverty and thus malnutrition.
Additionally, an aspect of the research findings that is specifically pertinent to the African community in South Africa, is that there appears to be an even larger increase in incidence amongst the international African population.
Autism South Africa and other advocacy organisations, schools and centres around South Africa have been commemorating World Autism Awareness Day since 2009, as well as joining the international campaign of “April as Autism Awareness Month”.
Jill Stacey, National Director of Autism South Africa, appeals to the members of the public, especially in the month of April, to make a deliberate effort to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders; visit Autism South Africa’s web page (www.aut2know.co.za), and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Stacey says “If more people understand the far-reaching and highly complex ramifications of autism, then there will be a improved acceptance and embracing in society, of people with autism”.
Only 0.1% of children with autism in South Africa are receiving any form of beneficial education. Understanding the potential, yet complexities of people with autism, Stacey hopes will encourage the South African Government, as a member state of the UN and therefore bound by the two Resolutions, to radically improve educational opportunities for the South African children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Additionally, an improved highlighting of the critical areas that are severely lacking for the expected 270 000 people with autism in South Africa, yet are constantly overlooked, or rejected by the CSI sector, could attract better recognition and urgently required financial support”.
As a result of a company, Independent Agency Search, that acted as a pivotal catalyst to bring together on a pro bono basis, 4 top media and advertising companies, House of Brave, Mediacom, Wetpaint and Soft Spot Content, April as “Autism Awareness Month” in 2013, is going to be bigger and better than ever before.
World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) 2022, will see Autism South Africa, with the guidance and phenomenal support of these 4 media companies, launching a controversial, but vital campaign to significantly draw the public’s attention towards Autism and thereby dispelling the ghastly and severely detrimental myths that are causing a great deal of harm to those affected by autism in our country.
Billboards, print and electronic media will display the appalling slogans
• Autism is for Blacks only
• Autism is for Retards
• Autism is for Whites only
• Autism is for Possessed People
• Autism is for Violent People
Why…….? Because that is what people are saying and we need to fight the war of ignorance and gain respect, understanding and acceptance for all people with an Autism Spectrum Condition.
These slogans will be the catalyst for conversation. Without conversation, we cannot draw attention to Autism, once the conversation starts, questions will be asked and CORRECT answers can be given.