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World Autism Awareness Day is marked annually on 2 April to raise awareness of autism across the world.
The United Nations estimates that up to 70 million people worldwide fall on the autism spectrum. This day is designed to remind all of us that autistic people want to be appreciated, understood and accepted by society. The social stigma and lack of awareness surrounding the disorder pose a serious barrier to identifying autism. A major problem pertaining to the issue is that there are many families of children with autism spectrum disorder who intentionally avoid diagnosis out of fear of labelling their child.
Over the past few years the You are Not Alone Foundation and the National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children have been working to ensure the early diagnosis of the condition, and provide autistic children with intensive early intervention therapy to help them reach their full potential and lead fulfilled lives. We are working with experts, including child psychiatrists, neurologists and paediatricians, from all across the country.
Since 2013, our Centre for the social adaptation of children with special needs has provided assistance to 145 children with ASD, based on programmes individually tailored to suit the needs of every child.
Today is an important day for children with autism and their parents. Lack of awareness has a tremendous impact on these children, their families and community as a whole. Today is an opportunity to appeal to the whole world: do not judge and reject a child just because he or she does not behave like other children. These children came into this world, just like everyone else, and therefore it is important to respect their dignity and individuality. There should be no place in society for rejection, exclusion and prejudice directed against the children with special needs.
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