United Nations (UN) secretary general Ban Ki-moon has called for people around the world to continue joining hands to enable people with autism and other neurological differences to realise their potential.
The UN chief said further that by doing so people with autism would continue to enjoy the opportunities and well-being that are their birthright.
He made the remarks yesterday in his statement to mark World’s Autism Awareness Day. He said autism is not limited to a single region or a country. “This is a worldwide challenge that requires global action,” he noted.
Ki-moon said although developmental disabilities such as autism begin in childhood, they persist throughout a person’s life.
“Our work with and for people with autism should not be limited to early identification and treatment; it should include therapies, educational plans and other steps that lead us towards sustained, lifelong engagement,” he noted.
He called on people to reach out to people with autism spectrum disorders which the UN chief said requires global political commitment and better international cooperation, especially in sharing good practices.
“Greater investments in the social, education and labour sectors are crucially important, since developed and developing countries alike still need to improve their capacities to address the unique needs of people with autism and cultivate their talents,” he said, adding:
“We also need to promote further research, train non-specialised care providers, and to enable the autism community to more easily navigate care systems to obtain services that can support and mainstream individuals with autism”.
The annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day is meant to spur such actions and draw attention to the unacceptable discrimination, abuse and isolation experienced by people with autism and their loved ones.
As highlighted by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with autism are equal citizens who should enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.