April 2, 2008 marked the first commemoration of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). The UN General Assembly reaffirmed the UN's commitment to the rights and well-being of people with disabilities, including children with developmental disabilities.
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the world. It affects as many as 1 in 150 children; boys are four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with autism. Autism affects the functioning of the brain, impairing a person's ability to communicate and relate to other people. Although there is no medical detection or cure, early diagnosis and intervention enhances chances of people with autism achieve their full potential. Effective programs that focus on developing communication, social and cognitive sills can results in significant improvements in IQ and language ability.
World Autism Awareness Day asks us to support the UN initiative by raising awareness of this lifelong developmental disability. It is important to help our communities implement activities and impart information that will help to increase knowledge of the autism epidemic.