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World Autism Acceptance Day – April 2, 2023

World Autism Acceptance Day, also known as World Autism Day or World Autism Awareness Day, is observed annually on April 2. Adopted by the United Nations on December 18, 2007, the purpose of this day is to raise awareness and promote acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder (A.S.D.). It also presents an opportunity to tear down misconceptions and false notions about disability.

History of World Autism Acceptance Day

World Autism Awareness Day was adopted by the United Nations on December 18, 2007. The holiday was proposed by the then Qatari United Nations Representative, Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, and supported by all member states. This day aims to raise awareness about people living with autism spectrum disorder (A.S.D.). However, there has been some contention as to the use of the words “autism awareness,” as several autism rights advocates have argued that the purpose of the day shouldn’t be merely to raise awareness about autism. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network prefers the term “autism acceptance” instead because it promotes overcoming prejudice against autistic people as opposed to merely publicizing autism.

Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental and neurological disorder that progresses throughout a person’s lifetime but develops in early childhood. It affects a person’s interaction and communication with others as well as how they learn. A.S.D. is a ‘spectrum’ disorder because it may present itself in a wide range of symptoms, which vary from one individual to another.

Symptoms of A.S.D. have been divided into four categories: behavioral, developmental, cognitive, and psychological. However, transcending categories, common symptoms may include avoidance of eye contact, repetitive behaviors, anxiety, change in voice, learning disabilities, inappropriate social interaction, and sensitivity to sound. The cause of A.S.D. has not yet been found, though research suggests that genes and environmental factors may play a significant role.

World Autism Acceptance Day timeline

1943
Kanner Describes Autism

An Austrian American psychiatrist and physician, Leo Kanner, first describes autism as a psychiatric disorder.

1950s — 1960s
Parents are Blamed

The cause of A.S.D. is assumed to be cold parenting.

1994
The D.S.M. Classifies Autism

The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders officially identifies autism as a spectrum disorder.

2007
The U.N. Adopts the Day

World Autism Day is adopted by the United Nations.

World Autism Acceptance Day FAQs

What is Asperger’s syndrome?

Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder related to autism that affects a person’s ability to communicate and socialize with others effectively.

Are there medication treatments for autism?

No, autism symptoms cannot be cured with medication, except in situations where the person exhibits aggressive or injurious behaviors.

Can an autistic person lead a normal adult life?

Yes, an autistic person can live a normal, independent adult life.

How to Observe World Autism Acceptance Day

  1. Educate others

    The essence of World Autism Acceptance Day is to raise awareness about A.S.D. Celebrate by lending your voice to enlighten others about autism spectrum disorder.

  2. Show kindness

    One of the best ways to celebrate is by pledging to be kind to people living with A.S.D., not just on this day but every day afterward. Show kindness to them in your words, and actions, and by helping to make their lives easier. To this end, it’s important to learn how best to communicate and interact with people living with A.S.D.

  3. Stand against bullying

    Refuse to tolerate or facilitate any form of bullying against autistic people. Stand in solidarity with them and say no to harassment, discrimination, and bullying.

5 Interesting Facts About Autism Spectrum Disorder

  1. Male statistics

    In the United States, one in 27 boys identifies with A.S.D.

  2. Female statistics

    In the United States, one in 11 girls identifies with A.S.D.

  3. Intelligent quotient

    44% of children with A.S.D. have an average-to-above-average intelligent quotient (I.Q.).

  4. External challenges

    Almost two-thirds of children with A.S.D. between the ages of six and 15 suffer bullying.

  5. Self-injury

    About 28% of children with A.S.D. have self-injurious behaviors.

Why World Autism Acceptance Day is Important

  1. It’s a celebration of autistic people

    This awareness/acceptance day is a love letter to autistic people so that they are seen and heard. This is a reminder that in their struggle, they are not alone.

  2. It’s a platform of enlightenment

    Many people harbor misconceptions about autism. This awareness day is vital in enlightening people about the causes and symptoms of autism so that they can better understand and tolerate people living with the disorder.

  3. It promotes acceptance

    World Autism Awareness Day promotes the acceptance of people living with autism. It helps the rest of the world understand that their differences are not sufficient reason to ostracize or deny them opportunities.

World Autism Acceptance Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 2Sunday
2024April 2Tuesday
2025April 2Wednesday
2026April 2Thursday
2027April 2Friday

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