World Autism Awareness Day – April 2, 2020

Thu Apr 2

Autism Awareness Day recognizes people on the autism spectrum, as well as the researching and fundraising initiatives which promote inclusivity. 

Our notion of autism as a disorder has changed drastically over time. Until the second half of the 20th century, only people with severe symptoms were diagnosed with autism, and those who were diagnosed were often institutionalized. Autism was believed to result from poor parenting or vaccinations, instead of understood as a neurological disorder.

Take time on April 2 to celebrate how far we’ve come.

Today, special events such as the Power of One March, awareness campaigns at schools, and autism self-advocacy have increased the world’s understanding and acceptance of autism.



World Autism Awareness Day timeline


Power of One March

The first Power of One march.


Autism Awareness Day Celebrated Around the World

The UN General Assembly marked the first World Autism Awareness Day.


Autism Recognized in Public Schools

The government would eventually make autism a special education category, which allowed public schools to offer tailored learning for children on the spectrum.


The Autism Society is founded

Credit goes to Dr. Bernard Rimland, Dr. Ruth Sullivan, and other parents of children with autism.


First Modern Autism Study Published

Bernard Rimland, a psychologist with an autistic child, published first modern study on infantile autism. The study debunked the contemporary understanding that autism was caused by bad mothering. 

How to Observe World Autism Awareness Day

  1. Get involved

    If you are part of an organization, you can plan and execute a fundraiser for Light It Up Blue and mail your donations to Autism Speaks.

  2. March

    Live in the D.C. area? Join The Power of One march. It takes place on the evening of April 2, but if you don’t live in the area, you may find a similar march in your town.

  3. Educate yourself

    There are a number of online talks and seminars which educate us about living with autism.

Why World Autism Awareness Day is Important

  1. It promotes inclusion

    The Autism Society reminds us of its nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion, and self-determination for all. It strives to make sure everyone autism is given the opportunity to achieve the best quality of life possible.

  2. We love blue

    On April 2 we wear blue to “Light It Up Blue” and show their support for those with autism. Thousands of homes and buildings around the world turn their lights blue on this day.

  3. We know The Power of One

    Each year on this day The Power of One march takes place in Washington, D.C. It unites the autism community as one, showing support and love for those with autism.

World Autism Awareness Day dates
2020April 2Thursday
2021April 2Friday
2022April 2Saturday
2023April 2Sunday
2024April 2Tuesday