Today is World Autism Awareness Day:
On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, supported the campaign for a World Autism Awareness Day through the current 62nd UN General Assembly Session, garnering consensus support from all United Nations Member States.
This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world’s attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.
World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.
It is interesting to note that this was initiated by the muslim country of Qatar. There are many muslims involved in autism awareness; one example is Yunus Yakoub Islam, a fellow contributor at Talk Islam, who has written extensively about his autistic son at The Tasneem Project As he and others have noted, there is an unusually high incidence of autism among the Somali diaspora in the US (primarily Minneapolis) and in Sweden. Also, Beliefnet Editor Dilshad Ali wrote two pieces, about how her faith in Islam gave her strength in coping with her son’s autism, and how autism actually strengthened her own faith.