We are each designed for a unique and divine purpose. Live yours!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

ASA President to Speak at U.N. for World Autism Awareness Day

This article is reprinted from http://www.autism-society.org/

Today marks the second World Autism Awareness Day, as recognized by the United Nations, and on this occasion the Autism Society of America is calling on the nations of the world to support its Declaration of the Human Rights of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, the U.N. is presenting a panel discussion on “Autism and Human Rights: Understanding and Safeguarding the Rights of People with Autism” at its headquarters in New York. Lee Grossman, ASA President and CEO, will be one of the distinguished panel speakers from across the globe, along with Dr. Stephen Shore, an ASA Board of Directors member and individual with autism.

Other speakers include Dr. Hatem El-Shanti, director of the Genetic Medical Centre at the Shafallah Centre, Qatar; Paulo Barrozo, professor of law at Harvard University; Evelyne Friedel, president of Autism Europe; and Pat Matthews, executive director of the Irish Society of Autism. Mr. Matthews is also a past president of the World Autism Organization. A webcast of the briefing will be available at http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/index.asp.

“We will know we have succeeded when people on the autism spectrum become an accepted part of the human condition,” Grossman says. “While this goal may take a generation to achieve, the global community should aim for nothing less, and it is imperative that we begin to work toward that goal today.”

An estimated 30 million people in the world have an autism spectrum disorder, 1.5 million in America alone. To date, there is no global survey or study on prevalence. Individuals on the autism spectrum and their families struggle daily to advocate for basic health care, education and community acceptance that should be their natural rights as humans, yet they are systematically discriminated against and subjected to global abuses.

ASA’s declaration states that people with autism have the fundamental human right to live an autonomous, independent and meaningful life; self-determination and direct involvement in decisions in decisions affecting their lives; accessible and appropriate education, housing, assistance, care and support services as well as sufficient income; freedom from threats, discrimination ,social exclusion and cruel and abusive treatment. Read the declaration in its entirety at http://www.autism-society.org/site/DocServer/hr_declaration.pdf?docID=8741.

On a personal note, our 20 year old son was diagnosed last year (finally!) with Asperger's Syndrome. Receiving the diagnosis was not dearly as challenging as the range of emotions we (my husband and I) experienced. Guilt, anger, grief, heartbreak and so much more. Yes, we were relieved, because it's alway easier to deal with a "known" than an "unknown."

It all made sense to us and has allowed us to know how to zero on how to help him achieve the goals he has, and the goals we've had for him: living independently, holding a job, feeling empowered and experiencing all the other aspects of life that we all desire. Our son is very high functioning and we are grateful for that. He will be able to accomplish his goals.

He is in a good place right now. He is receiving job training at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, VA near Staunton. We're in a much better place than we were a year ago. My husband and I have both been working so much to keep our heads above water, but one promise we have made to each other is to become more involved in a support group and work to help raise awareness, and hopefully raise money for research for this disease that is now an epidemic.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Praising GOD for a diagnosis and knowing GOD will use him in great and awesome ways.