Yearly, the 18th of June is set aside to celebrate persons with Autism and increase awareness about their condition and bring about a positive change in the broader society. Autistic Pride helps to give a sense of belonging to people with autism and discourages discrimination and stigma against them.
World Autism Pride Day 2023 theme
This year 2023, the theme is “Transforming the narrative: contributions at home, at work, in the art, and in policy-making”. This speaks about the needed changes that must be brought into conversations and matters of persons with autism in order to create a society where they feel welcomed and safe to contribute to societal growth. The needed change involves all members of society, from family members, schools community, colleagues at work, and policymakers.
Origin of Autistic Pride Day
Autistic Pride Day was first celebrated in Brazil in 2005 by Aspies For Freedom (AFF) as an autistic community event. The day was an opportunity for autistic people to connect with one another and demonstrate the uniqueness of autistic people. Autistic pride points out that autistic people are an important part of society with neurodiversity.
Importance of World Autistic Pride Day
Autistic Pride Day is set up to raise public awareness of autism and educate the public on the challenges faced by people living with autism. The goal is to create a society where persons with autism are treated with respect, empathy, and protected from discrimination and stigma at home, school, work, and policy-making.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder represents a wide continuum of associated neurobehavioral and developmental deficits characterized by limitation of socialization and communication as well as restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. Autism may be diagnosed at any age, but typically starts in early childhood.
What are the challenges with Autism?
The prevalence of autism in the general society has increased in recent times. The prevalence of autism is between 0.5 – 1.1% in general society but it is higher in siblings of persons with autism. It is a lifelong disorder that negatively impacts communication (reciprocity), language skills, non-verbal communication, social skills, and motor behaviors. As with other neurodiversity, persons with autism face stigma and discrimination in society.
As the University of Benin Teaching Hospital marks 50 years of service to humanity this year 2023, we join the call for contribution from all to change the narrative for persons with autism. We encourage autism support groups and provide medical and social support to all persons living with autism.