To Embrace Autism Together

The conference was convened to discuss ways in which the global community can address autism through the SDGs.  As a panelist, H.E. Mr. Momen highlighted the importance of perceiving people with autism as individuals. We must accept their differences, for they are also human and thus have the same essential human rights. He further noted that there can be no talk of health without addressing mental health. Ms. Ban Soon-Taek stated that the equal participation of people with autism is required in order to create the inclusive societies laid out in the 2030 Agenda.

Ms. Wright reminded the assembly that 193 member states have voted to help the nearly 70 million people with autism. Through her organization’s initiative, Light it Up Blue, 147 countries have pledged to light their countries blue in dedication to the rights of people with autism. Starting with the Empire State building, 10 of the world’s tallest buildings would join the initiative and “go blue”. She further acknowledged the accomplishments of the coordinated Autism Speaks and WHO initiative: “Parent Skills Training for Caregivers of Children with Developmental Delays and Disorders”. The program delivers both parents and families with the skills needed for the management of developmental disorders such as autism. The goal is to empower families to take control.

Next, Dr. Nabarro claimed that effective development is one in which all people can participate in as much of life as possible. Thus, the treatment of autism must move beyond simply a health issue and enlist wider societal involvement. Dr. Shore shared his own experience as an autistic child and the ways in which his parents helped in his development and return to school. We must look at what a person with autism can do and move from awareness to acceptance and finally appreciation.

Meeting: “Addressing Autism: Strategies for the Global Community in Relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”

Date/Location: April 1, 2016; 15:00-18:00; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN; H.E. Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the UN; H.E. Mr. Syed Akbaruddin, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of India to the UN; Ms. Ban Soon-Taek, Spouse of the UN Secretary-General; Ms. Suzane Wright, founder of Autism Speaks; Dr. Stephen Shore, Professor at Adelphi University in New York; Dr. David Nabarro; Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

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