This past Saturday, April 2, was the Fourth Annual World Autism Awareness Day. On Dec. 18 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring April 2 as World Autism Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. The UN Resolution is one of only three disease-specific “Days” designated by the United Nations. The UN provided such designation in an effort to 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 development challenges. World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on Autism as a growing global health crisis.”
Today, almost 1 percent of children (1 in 110) are diagnosed, and placed on the Autism Spectrum. Autism is a growing epidemic, and the American medical industry and educational system is behind the curve. The system is not equipped to provide for early diagnoses, adequate treatment and sustained therapies such as one-on-one tutoring and counseling.
Parade Magazine reports that in the next 15 years, 500,000 Autistic children will graduate out of school systems and “into the unknown.” Nationwide, there are only about 3,500 programs available for Autistic adults, compared to 14,400 programs currently available for kids on the Autism Spectrum. Who will champion the cause for these young adults?
In an effort to help meet the challenge, the local chapter of Autism Speaks is hosting a Walk-A-Thon here in San Jose next month to raise money and awareness for the cause. “Walk Now For Autism Speaks” will be held on Saturday, May 21, at History Park San Jose.