World Autism Awareness Day

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World Autism Awareness Day
Organizador de Autismo en La Moneda.jpg
A World Autism Awareness Day event in Santiago, Chile in 2013
Official nameWorld Autism Awareness Day
Observed by United Nations member states
Date 2 April
Next time2 April 2025 (2025-04-02)
First time2008

World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day annually on 2 April, encouraging Member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about autistic individuals throughout the world. [1] [2] It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution (A/RES/62/139), [3] passed in council on 1 November 2007, and adopted on 18 December 2007. It was proposed by Moza bint Nasser Al-Missned, the United Nations Representative from Qatar, and supported by all member states. [4] [5] [6] [7]


This resolution was passed and adopted without a vote in the UN General Assembly, mainly as a supplement to previous UN initiatives to improve human rights. [6]

World Autism Day is one of only seven official health-specific UN Days. [8]

The terms "Autism Awareness Day" and "Autism Awareness Month" are sometimes contested by autism rights advocates, who claim that they feed into ableism against autistic people. Such groups, including the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, advocate using the term Autism Acceptance day as an alternative for both events under the belief that it promotes overcoming anti-autism prejudice rather than simply increasing awareness of autism. [9] [10] Besides this international autism day, the Autistic Pride Day is held yearly on 18 June, a pride celebration which recognises the importance of pride for autistic people and its role in bringing about positive changes in the broader society.


The original resolution had four main components:


As of 2012, each World Autism Awareness Day has focused on a specific theme determined by the UN.

Onesie Wednesday

In 2014, WAAD coincided with Onesie Wednesday, a day created by the National Autistic Society to encourage people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to show their support for anyone on the autistic spectrum. By wearing a onesie or pajamas, participants are saying, "it's all right to be different". [25]

Outcomes in the United States

In a 2015 Presidential Proclamation, President Obama highlighted some of the initiatives that the US government was taking to bring rights to those with autism and to bring awareness to the disorder. He highlighted things like The Affordable Care Act, which prohibits health insurance companies from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition such as autism. He also pointed out the Autism CARES Act of 2014, which provides higher level training for those who are serving citizens on the autism spectrum. [26]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Autism rights movement</span> Disability rights movement for autistic people

The autism rights movement, also known as the autistic acceptance movement, is a social movement allied with disability rights that emphasizes a neurodiversity paradigm, viewing autism as a disability with variations in the human brain rather than as a disease to be cured. The movement advocates for several goals, including greater acceptance of autistic traits and behaviors; reforms of services - i.e. services that focus on improving quality of life and well-being instead of suppression and masking of autistic traits that are adaptive or not harmful or imitations of social behaviors of allistic (non-autistic) peers ; the creation of social networks and events that allow autistic people to socialize on their own terms; and the recognition of the autistic community as a minority group.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Autism Awareness Campaign UK</span>

The Autism Awareness Campaign – United Kingdom was launched in 2000 by British parents and carers Ivan Corea and his wife Charika Corea in response to the autism diagnosis of their son, Charin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Autistic Pride Day</span> Annual celebration held on 18 June

Autistic Pride Day is a pride celebration for autistic people held on 18 June each year. Autistic pride recognises the importance of pride for autistic people and its role in bringing about positive changes in the broader society.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aspies For Freedom</span> Autism rights group

Aspies For Freedom (AFF) is a solidarity and campaigning group that aimed at raising public awareness of the autism rights movement. The aim of Aspies For Freedom is to educate the public that the autism spectrum is not always a disability, and that there are advantages as well as disadvantages. For this purpose, the group organizes an annual Autistic Pride Day. AFF provides support for the autistic community and protests attempts to cure autism.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to autism:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Societal and cultural aspects of autism</span>

Societal and cultural aspects of autism or sociology of autism come into play with recognition of autism, approaches to its support services and therapies, and how autism affects the definition of personhood. The autistic community is divided primarily into two camps; the autism rights movement and the Pathology paradigm. The pathology paradigm advocates for supporting research into therapies, treatments, and/or a cure to help minimize or remove autistic traits, seeing treatment as vital to help individuals with autism, while the neurodiversity movement believes autism should be seen as a different way of being and advocates against a cure and interventions that focus on normalization, seeing it as trying to exterminate autistic people and their individuality. Both are controversial in autism communities and advocacy which has led to significant infighting between these two camps. While the dominant paradigm is the pathology paradigm and is followed largely by autism research and scientific communities, the neurodiversity movement is highly popular among most autistic people, within autism advocacy, autism rights organizations, and related neurodiversity approaches have been rapidly growing and applied in the autism research field in the last few years.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is an American 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization run by and for individuals on the autism spectrum. ASAN advocates for the inclusion of autistic people in decisions that affect them, including: legislation, depiction in the media, and disability services.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Autism Speaks</span> American advocacy organization

Autism Speaks Inc. is a non-profit autism awareness organization and the largest autism research organization in the United States. It sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. It was founded in February 2005 by Bob Wright and his wife Suzanne, a year after their grandson Christian was diagnosed with autism. The same year as its founding, the organization merged with Autism Coalition for Research and Education. It then merged with the National Alliance for Autism Research in 2006 and Cure Autism Now in 2007.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ari Ne'eman</span> American autism rights advocate

Ari Daniel Ne'eman is an American disability rights activist and researcher who co-founded the Autistic Self Advocacy Network in 2006. On December 16, 2009, President Barack Obama announced that Ne'eman would be appointed to the National Council on Disability. After an anonymous hold was lifted, Ne'eman was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate to serve on the Council on June 22, 2010. He chaired the council's Policy & Program Evaluation Committee making him the first autistic person to serve on the council. In 2015, Ne'eman left the National Council on Disability at the end of his second term. He currently serves as a consultant to the American Civil Liberties Union. As of 2019, he also is a Ph.D. candidate in Health Policy at Harvard University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Autism spectrum</span> Neurodevelopmental disorder

Autism, formally called autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autism spectrum condition (ASC), is a neurodevelopmental disorder marked by deficits in reciprocal social communication and the presence of restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. Other common signs include difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, along with perseverative interests, stereotypic body movements, rigid routines, and hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input. Autism is clinically regarded as a spectrum disorder, meaning that it can manifest very differently in each person. For example, some are nonspeaking, while others have proficient spoken language. Because of this, there is wide variation in the support needs of people across the autism spectrum.

Autism-friendly means being aware of social engagement and environmental factors affecting people on the autism spectrum, with modifications to communication methods and physical space to better suit individual's unique and special needs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Autism Cymru</span> Former Welsh national charity for autism

Autism Cymru was Wales' national charity for autism with offices in Cardiff, Wrexham, and Aberystwyth. The charity was established in May 2001 through an initial 3-year grant provided by The Shirley Foundation. The founder chair of the Trustees was Dame Stephanie Shirley of the Shirley Foundation.

Diagnosis, treatment, and experiences of autism varies globally. Although the diagnosis of autism is rising in post-industrial nations, diagnosis rates are much lower in developing nations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani</span> Qatari diplomat

Sheikha Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani (Arabic: علياء بنت أحمد آل ثاني; is a Qatari diplomat who currently serves as the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Autism-Europe</span> International non-profit association

Autism-Europe is an international non-profit association located in Brussels, Belgium. The organisation is co-funded by the European Union.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julia Bascom</span> American autism rights activist

Julia Bascom is an American autism rights activist. She is the current executive director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and replaced Ari Ne'eman as president of ASAN in early 2017.

Julia (<i>Sesame Street</i>) Muppet character from the childrens television series Sesame Street

Julia is a fictional character on the PBS/HBO children's educational television series Sesame Street. She is known for being the first Sesame Street character diagnosed with autism. Julia is a friendly four-year-old girl who enjoys bonding with her supportive family and her friends on Sesame Street. She first appeared in 2015 in an online autism awareness initiative from Sesame Workshop, entitled Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children. Julia later made her first appearance on television series on Episode 4715, which originally aired on April 2, 2017.

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu is an American educator, author, and autism and HIV advocate. Alongside E. Ashkenazy and Lydia Brown, Onaiwu is an editor of All the Weight of Our Dreams, an anthology of art and writing entirely by autistic people of color published by the Autism Women's Network in June 2017.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Disability Day of Mourning</span> Annual filicide commemoration

The Disability Day of Mourning is observed annually on 1 March to commemorate disabled people who were murdered by their caregivers, especially their parents. First observed in 2012 and propagated by disability rights organizations such as Not Dead Yet and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the day aims to bring attention to the issue of filicide of disabled children and adults and the degree to which such murders are treated as different from or more socially acceptable than similar murders of abled people.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder affecting one's social interaction, communication, routine, etc. The disorder is observed across the globe. Autism in China is known as 自闭症 or 孤独症 in Chinese. It is also common for autistic individuals to be metaphorically called 来自星星的孩子.


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