The United Nations today co-launched a conference on autism designed to promote quicker intervention, more compassion and greater acceptance of those afflicted.
“Not too long ago, those affected by autism-related disorders were set aside: placed in institutions or dismissed as untreatable ‘lost cases’,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s wife, Ban Soon-taek, who co-sponsored the event with First Ladies Laura Bush of the United States and Dorrit Moussaieff of Iceland.
“Today, sadly, this reality is still prevalent in some parts of the world. That is why it is crucial that professionals and society at large become more involved, compassionate and accepting of this complex condition,” she added, at the UN World Focus on Autism conference held on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s annual General Debate.
The Mission of Qatar, Autism Speaks, and the Autism Society of America, joined the UN in launching the conference to advance the concept of an annual observance devoted to promoting awareness of the condition on 2 April, which the General Assembly last year proclaimed as World Autism Awareness Day.
Mrs. Ban cited data showing that one child in 150 is affected with autism, which is now the fastest-growing neuro-developmental condition. “These boys and girls need early intervention – such as appropriate assistance on developing communication, social and cognitive skills,” she said
“I would like to highlight the international dimension of this condition. Autism affects all countries, regardless of race, creed, educational levels or financial income.”