Wednesday, 2 April 2014

World Autism Awareness Day and the CDC estimates

As designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 (see here), today, Wednesday 2nd April 2014, is World Autism Awareness Day (#WAAD).


If you haven't already clicked the link to the UN statement above, I'd encourage you to do so and read over the articles included in the resolution.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offers some wise words about the meaning of today in his annual address: "World Autism Awareness Day is about more than generating understanding; it is a call to action. I urge all concerned to take part in fostering progress by supporting education programmes, employment opportunities and other measures that help realize our shared vision of a more inclusive world".

Given the latest prevalence estimates from the US CDC suggesting that approximately 1 in 68 8-year olds in 2010 presented with an autism spectrum condition, the Secretary-General's words should resonate louder than ever. As expected, the debates rumble on about what the CDC figures do and don't show when it comes to the reasons to account for the fact that approximately "one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls... were identified as having ASD [autism spectrum disorder]" (see here for more details).

Discussions aside, just remember that behind every statistic are real people and real lives. And for the UK audience, have a look at Tuesday's BBC Horizon program: 'Living with autism' on the iPlayer.

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