Throughout its history, the United Nations family has celebrated diversity and promoted the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, including learning differences and developmental disabilities.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) 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.

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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.

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.

"On World Autism Awareness Day, we speak out against discrimination, celebrate the diversity of our global community and strengthen our commitment to the full inclusion and participation of people with autism. Supporting them to achieve their full potential is a vital part of our efforts to uphold the core promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: to leave no one behind" - said the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in his message on the World Autism Awareness Day 2019. 

2019 THEME OF THE WORLD AUTISM AWARENES DAY -  “ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES, ACTIVE PARTICIPATION”

While technological advances are continuous, there are still major barriers to the use of assistive technologies, including high costs, lack of availability, lack of awareness of their potential, and a lack of training in their use. Available data indicates that, in several developing countries, more than 50% of the persons with disabilities who need assistive devices are not able to receive them.

The 2019 World Autism Awareness Day observance at UN Headquarters in New York will focus on leveraging the use of assistive technologies for persons with autism as a tool in removing the barriers to their full social, economic and political participation in society, and in promoting equality, equity and inclusion.

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About 10 thousand children with autism live in Belarus. At the same time, only each tenth case is recorded in the official statistics: many parents do not want to advertise the diagnosis, fearing the wrong perception of the child in society. At the same time, there are methods that help special people to become full members of society.

"Work on the creation of an inclusive educational and social environment is going on every day. Today's results are the first experimental steps, it is not a harmonious system yet, — notes Vera Hitruk, Director of the Belarusian institute of inclusive education.  — Each educational institution should go through an individual way of creating an inclusive environment, forming its own inclusive culture based on the analysis of its needs and "deficits". We are ready to help to satisfy any requests of teachers-practitioners".

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For 2 years of the Institute's existence, more than 600 specialists have been trained at various courses, seminars, trainings, and there is a constant work with students as future teachers-defectologists.