The United Nations General Assembly, through its resolution on 18th December 2007, unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.
Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. The term Autism Spectrum refers to a range of characteristics. Appropriate support, accommodation and acceptance of this neurological variation allow those on the Spectrum to enjoy equal opportunity, and full and effective participation in society.
Autism is mainly characterized by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.
The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high and the lack of understanding has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families and communities. One in 160 children has an autism spectrum disorder, according to estimates by the UN World Health Organization. Around the world, one per cent of the entire population – possibly two per cent – is on the spectrum. In India, 1 out of 89 children born are said to be living with Autism.
The stigmatization and discrimination associated with neurological differences remain substantial obstacles to diagnosis and therapies, an issue that must be addressed by both public policy-makers in developing nations, as well as donor countries.
Over the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education generally, as well as for persons with autism specifically.
However, in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, a majority of countries announced the temporary closure of schools, impacting more than 90 per cent of students worldwide. The disruption in learning caused by the pandemic has reversed years of progress and has exacerbated inequalities in education.
Many students with autism have been especially hard hit and studies show that they have been disproportionately affected by disruptions to routines, as well as services and supports that they rely on.
Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the United Nations in 2015 provide a blueprint for addressing the major challenges facing the world, including inequality.
Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, as the foundation for improving people’s lives and reducing inequalities.
The specific targets for SDG 4 refer to the need to ensure “equal access to all levels of education and vocational training” for persons with disabilities and building and upgrading education facilities that are disability sensitive and that provide “inclusive and effective learning environments for all.”
In this respect, the SDGs echo the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Article 24 of the Convention recognizes that persons with disabilities have the right to inclusive, quality education on an equal basis with others and that reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements should be provided.
Source : United Nations
Last Modified : 9/16/2022
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