Autism NZ on drive to raise awareness ahead of World Autism Day

  • 31/03/2012

By 3 News online staff

Autism NZ is on a drive to raise the profile of the condition ahead of World Autism Day tomorrow.

Community activities and mufti days are planned at schools and businesses across the country, and Autism NZ chief executive Alison Molloy is hoping the drive will help raise awareness of the disorder.

“A world without autism would be a lesser world and many people on the spectrum and their families have their own powerful stories here in New Zealand,” says Ms Molloy. “We encourage people to learn and value the difference that people with autism and asperger’s bring to our lives." 

Autism is a neurological disorder.  Characteristics include impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviour.  It is usually diagnosed in children before the age of two.

April 2nd was recently declared World Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations General Assembly, with Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calling for people to reach out to those with autism.

“Reaching out to people with autism spectrum disorders requires a global political commitment,” said the Secretary General. “Greater investments in the social, education and labour sectors are crucially important.”

“We also need to promote further research, train non-specialised care providers, and enable the autism community to more easily navigate care systems to obtain services that can support and mainstream individuals with autism,” he said.

“People with autism are equal citizens who should all enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said.

Auckland mother Louise Inglis’ son Kevin was diagnosed with the condition at just 13 months of age. She says that having a child with autism can challenge a family to its very core.

“Receiving the news that your child is profoundly disabled is a painful blow that no parent ever imagines will happen to them,” she says. “We were totally unprepared.”

Ms Inglis says however that she and her husband Michael love Kevin regardless of his condition, and are committed to keeping their marriage and family intact.

She has written a book detailing their journey with Kevin. The book, Happiness in his Eyes, is due to hit stores tomorrow.

source: newshub archive