April 2nd of every year since 2007 (precisely 13 years ago), is a day earmarked internationally amongst Member State of The United Nations to take measures in creating awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) throughout the world.
For the purpose of education and without unnecessarily boring you with the story of this milestone achievement by The United Nations, this annual special day was created not to only celebrate, but to also create awareness about these people with special challenge and also special abilities by The United Nation General Assembly resolution “62/139/World Autism Awareness Day”, passed on 1st November 2007, and adopted on December 2007; in a bid to supplement its previous initiatives to improve human rights.
Since its inception 13 years ago, this annual celebration has never failed to come up with not only awareness laden themes on yearly basis, but also, themes which messages are both latently and manifestly geared towards improving and bettering the living standards of the people with autism, and also advocacy of equal rights for them.
Even amidst the current global health challenge of the virulent Corona Virus epidemic, this year’s World Autism Day did not fail in its usual mind-buggling, advocative, educative and enlightening theme that has all the predilections of bettering the lots of autism challenged people, hence: The Transition to Adulthood.
This year’s theme which coincides with the current Corona Virus outbreak has many messages embedded in it. In one of its messages, it unequivocally advocates for the rights of people with autism during this global epidemic challenge of Covid-19; especially considering the fact that the epidemic places them at disproportionate risk when compared to people who are abled without the challenge.
We all undoubtedly have roles to play in ensuring that the needs of these people are met, especially now that virtually all countries of the world are in a seeming lockdowns as a result of the Covid-19 plague. Information about precautionary measures must be provided to them in accessible and understandable formats.
Also, just like other persons or individuals in the society, persons or individuals with autism have the rights to self-determination, independence and autonomy; as such during this Corona Virus outbreak, and on equal measurements, the right of the people with autism should be taken into accounting the formulation and executions of all responses to the Covid-19 disease.
On this special day of World Autism Awareness Day, which paradoxically coincides with this global health challenge of Corona Virus, we should in sincerity of purpose and unity hold our hands and stand in solidarity with people living with autism.
Patrick Speech and Language Centre, the leading autism centre in Nigeria has always been at the front line in both door – to-door and street awareness campaigns about the people living with autism on a special day like this, with restriction of movements during this year’s World Autism Awareness Day, our messages to the world as we have always reiterate are that autism is not a crime, autism doesn’t have to be viewed as a disability it’s a different ability, people with autism should be treated with utmost respect like any other person.
All of at Patrick Speech and Language Centre celebrate all persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Yes! You might be challenged but distinctively advantaged. There are a lot of abilities in your disability.