Autism is a complex disability with a wide range of manifestations.
It can cause tremendous distress to sufferers and those who care for them.
It is also little understood.
But as we learn more, it is becoming clear that all children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives in society.
To do so, they simply need greater understanding and support.
People with disabilities have a double burden.
They confront the daily challenges of their condition.
But they must also cope with the negative attitudes of society ... with inadequate support ... and even blatant discrimination.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in May 2008, is a powerful tool to redress these injustices.
On World Autism Awareness Day, I call on all Governments to reaffirm their commitment to make universal human rights a reality for all who live with autism.
Let us support further research and work together to make an inclusive caring society for all.