World Autism Awareness Day has succeeded in calling greater international attention to autism and other developmental disorders that affect millions of people worldwide.
The current session of the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a new resolution on this issue, demonstrating a commitment to help affected individuals and families. The resolution encourages Member States and others to strengthen research and expand their delivery of health, education, employment and other essential services.
The Executive Board of the World Health Assembly will also take up the subject of autism spectrum disorders at its forthcoming session in May.
This international attention is essential to address stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate support structures. Current research indicates that early interventions can help persons with autistic conditions to achieve significant gains in their abilities. 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.
The General Assembly will hold a high-level meeting on 23 September to address the conditions of more than one billion persons with disabilities, including those with autism spectrum disorders. I hope leaders will seize this opportunity to make a meaningful difference that will help these individuals and our human family as a whole.
Let us continue to work hand-in-hand with persons with autism spectrum disorders, helping them to cultivate their strengths while addressing the challenges they face so they can lead the productive lives that are their birthright.