Secretary-General's Message for 2011
The number of children and people with autistic conditions continues to rise — in every nation and in every racial, ethnic and social group. Although the recognition of autistic conditions among the scientific, health and care communities is improving, public awareness remains low. The annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day thus takes on ever greater importance as an opportunity to mobilize for action and assistance.
Children and persons with autistic conditions face major challenges associated with stigma and discrimination, as well as a lack of access to support. Many struggle with multiple barriers in their daily lives. Far too many suffer terrible discrimination, abuse and isolation, in violation of their fundamental human rights.
Autism is a complex disorder. But in many cases the right treatment early on can bring improvements. That is why it is so important to raise awareness about the signs of autism and provide services as soon as possible.
It is also critical to support parents, create jobs for individuals with autism based on their skills and strengths, and improve public education to better meet the needs of students with autism.
Taking these steps will benefit society as a whole, enriching people with autism, their loved ones and others alike. As the mother of one child with autism said, "Although my daughter has walked a long way, I have walked a longer way."
Together, let us travel this road toward a more caring and inclusive world.