World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) is being observed every year on April 2 and several communities around the world aim to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism face in their daily life.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and non-verbal communication as well as by unique strengths and differences.
It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
The eleventh annual World Autism Awareness Day is April 2, 2018 and this year the focus is on empowering women and girls with autism and involving them and various representative communities in policy and decision making to address these challenges.
Previous reports, shared by the United Nations General Assembly suggest that girls with disabilities are subject to various forms of discrimination and are less likely to complete their primary school even. From education to employment, women with autism are more denied than man in different parts of our society.
While they experience physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence across the globe, confronting with barriers to reproductive health services is also growing at a alarming rate.
Hence, various WAAD activities, dynamic moderated discussions with experts and advocates may help face those challenges that women and girls with autism face in this context.
Other important issues to be focused on WAAD 2018 are rights to marriage, family and parenthood on a normal basis, as mentioned in Article 23 of the CRPD.
However signs of autism can often be detected at a very young age and parents are advised to start treatment as soon as possible for better outcomes.
According to doctors, children need social acceptance to help reduce the impact of disorders and face the challenges with confidence.
Once autism is diagnosed, multi-factorial approach with behavioural interventions, sensory stimulation, speech therapy, occupational therapy, which focus on development of social skills, language, communication and daily skills, are needed to deal with the disorder, Bijal Srivastava, a paediatrician at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital suggest.