Yesterday, several top members of the United Nations and their wives met to discuss autism, it's diagnosis and treatment, as well as the need to understand this condition and spread awareness.
Ban Soon-taek, chair of the Forum who is also the wife of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, spoke about autism on a global scale and the problem of continued institutionalism of people with autism. She lamented the fact that people with autism are still shunned and isolated in institutions in many areas of the world, where autism is feared, misunderstood and largely ignored.
The United Nations has launched a huge effort to increase awareness and acceptance of autism by dedicating April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is one of only three conditions that the UN has dedicated a global day of awareness to.
Autism Speaks, a group dedicated to the support, treatment, education and awareness of the condition, headed up the program and have said that awareness is a key element of treating autism, as well as early intervention.
It is thought that signs of autism can be seen in babies as young as 6 months and a fairly accurate diagnosis by the age of 3. Parents who spot certain signs need to be vigilant in seeking intervention and not be waved away with comments like 'he'll grow out of it' or 'she'll catch up'. Parents are likely to the the first to spot signs and are the best line of defense for their children which is why we need to end the social stigma of this condition. 1 in 150 children have autism. Why this is, is still a mystery. It may be because it is diagnosed more because more is understood, because awareness is increasing, or because our children have physical, nutritional, medical or mental conditions that older generation did not. In addition, the vaccination connection debate still rages.
Autism is not a 'terminal' condition and people with it can live full and content lives.
To learn more about autism and it's treatments, click here
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