"This international attention is essential to address stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate support structures. Now is the time to work for a more inclusive society, highlight the talents of affected people and ensure opportunities for them to realize their potential. "
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the World Autism Awareness Day 2013
Photo: CARE/David Rochkind, Design: Kim Conger
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life. The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and it has a tremendous impact on children, their families, communities and societies.
Throughout its history, the United Nations family has promoted the rights and well-being of the disabled, including children with developmental disabilities. In 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, reaffirming the fundamental principle of universal human rights for all.
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from the disorder so they can lead full and meaningful lives.