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World Autism Awareness Day

photo of World Autism Awareness Day Logo
World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognised day on the 2nd of April every year, encouraging Member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about people with autism throughout the world. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution "62/139. World Autism Awareness Day", passed in council on November 1, 2007, and adopted on December 18, 2007. It was proposed by the United Nations representative from Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and supported by all member states.[1][2][3][4]

This resolution was passed and adopted without a vote in the UN General Assembly, mainly as a supplement to previous UN initiatives to improve human rights.[3] Since its inception autism awareness and research around the world has increased as a result[citation needed].

World Autism Day is also one of only four official health-specific UN Days.[5] The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and overall awareness for those with the disorder.[6]



The original resolution had four main components:

Notable InitiativesEdit

April 2, 2008Edit

The first Autism Awareness Day was highly mandated and hosted by the UN branches around the world. The highlighted events were held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The events hosted by the UN includes a panel discussion sponsored by Qatar and the UN representative responsible for the resolution, along with the World Health Organization and the NGO Autism Speaks. In addition, there was a briefing held for NGO's on topics relating to autism awareness. Both of these events focused on personal efforts for awareness raising and eliminating negative stigma associated with autism. In addition, there were highlights on the struggles of people with autism and the importance of better understanding the disorder.[3]

Autism SpeaksEdit

Autism Speaks is a non-governmental organization in the field of efforts to raise awareness to autism, further research, and acts as an advocate to those with the disorder. This group engages in research dealing with causes, prevention, treatments and cures. It also acts as a large support system for families of autistic individuals.[9]

Light It Up BlueEdit

Light It Up Blue is one of the largest initiatives posed by Autism Speaks. It is observed on WAAD, and is a dedication to autism awareness.

World Autism Awareness Day in EuropeEdit

In Europe the international association Autism-Europe runs a campaign every year, focusing not only on awareness but also on fostering a greater understanding of autism. Autism-Europe’s campaigns to date have therefore focused on things such as employment for people on the autism spectrum, discrimination, neurodiverse societies and accessible products, services and communities.

Autism-Europe’s member organisations, of which there are more than 80, also commonly work on the same campaign, and promote it in their respective countries.

The Power of One MarchEdit

The Power of One March[A] is The National Autism Awareness March, and is a unique night-time march in Washington, D.C., on World Autism Awareness Day, which is April 2, 2016. The march aims to unify the autism awareness community and provide a time of healing and peace around the globe. Attendees may choose which organization they want to march for with proceeds of LED bracelet sales going to the organization of their choosing.


Autism Ontario celebrates World Autism Awareness Day by "Raising a Flag" for autism. Municipalities around Ontario raise a flag to raise awareness for autism in their region.[10]

Onesie WednesdayEdit

In 2014 WAAD coincided with Onesie Wednesday, a day created by the National Autistic Society to encourage people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to show their support for anyone on the autistic spectrum. By wearing a onesie or pyjamas, participants are saying, "it’s all right to be different".[11]


United StatesEdit

In a 2015 Presidential Proclamation, President Obama highlighted some of the initiatives that the US government was taking to bring rights to those with autism and to bring awareness to the disorder. He highlighted things like The Affordable Care Act, which prohibits health insurance companies from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition such as autism. He also pointed out the recent Autism CARES Act of 2014, which provides higher level training for those who are serving citizens on the autism spectrum.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Note: The webpage immediately starts playing loud music with no control options. There is a large video window on the page, with the usual "pause" and "volume" icons, neither of which affects the sound blast.
  1. ^ "THIRD COMMITTEE CALLS ON ASSEMBLY TO DESIGNATE 2 APRIL WORLD AUTISM DAY | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  2. ^ "GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS LANDMARK TEXT CALLING FOR MORATORIUM ON DEATH PENALTY | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  3. ^ a b c "UNITED NATIONS MARKS FIRST WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY TODAY | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  4. ^ "WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY 2017". Retrieved October 19, 2017. 
  5. ^ "UN - Global Issues - Health". Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  6. ^ "About World Autism Awareness Day". Autism Speaks. 
  7. ^ "Facts & Myths about Autism – Autism Awareness Day 2017 – Belair Daily". Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  8. ^ "United Nations General Assembly" (PDF). Autism Speaks. 21 January 2008. 
  9. ^ "About Us". Autism Speaks. 
  10. ^ Autism Ontario (2012). "World Autism Awareness Day". Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "About Onesie Wednesday". National Autistic Society. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Presidential Proclamation – World Autism Awareness Day, 2015". Retrieved 2015-11-10.