Wednesday 2nd April is the United Nations World Autism Awareness Day, designated by the United Nations General Assembly in New York on the recommendation of Qatar.

OPEN EVERY DOOR – The Nimal Mendis song for autism sung by Gresha Schuilling goes on sale on Wednesday 2nd April on UN World Autism Awareness Day. The ‘Open Every Door’ CD is priced at £3.50 inclusive of postage and packing – it is available from Media Eye Productions in London contact: songsign29@yahoo.co.uk or telephone the UK on 01895 253 192 – www.mediaeyeproductions.com

On Wednesday, 2 April 2008, on the actual Day, the formal United Nations observance, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Qatar and one of the UN’s NGO partners — Autism Speaks — will take place between 3-5pm, in Conference room 1. A message by the Secretary-General (away from HQs on that day) will be delivered. A number of speakers, representing WHO, the government of Qatar, Autism Speaks, a family with a child with Autism as well as other relevant figures, will participate. The ceremony will be moderated by Al Jazeera’s Riz Khan. Staff, delegates, the media and NGOs are invited and encouraged to attend.

The same day, at 6 pm, sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Chile, an exhibit of artwork produced by people with Autism, will open in the Secretariat lobby.

On Thursday, 3 April 2008, a expanded DPI/NGO briefing will take place to celebrate people with Autism. The event also in Conference Room 1, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. will consist of a panel discussion followed by an interactive session between the speakers, special guests and the audience. We anticipate the special guests to include schools offering special programs for children with Autism, Colleges and Universities educating future teachers and therapists working with children with Autism, residential facilities for young adults living with Autism, parents of children with Autism, activists etc. Included among the speakers: Suzanne and Bob Wright, co-founders of Autism Speak; Lee Grosman, President and CEO of Autism Society of America; Dr. Edwin Trevathan, Director of the US Center for Disease Control; and Ms. Valerie Paradiz, the co-founder of the Open Center for Autism and a mother of a child with the condition. Ms. Linda Baquero, News Anchor with WNBC, Channel 4, will moderate the event. Several guests of honour will also be invited and recognized during the event. As a “curtain raiser”, an in-house, DPI-produced short video, will be screened at the beginning of the briefing.

Our global network of UN offices and UN Information Centers are aware of the above-mentioned, NY-based developments, and have been strongly encouraged to engage in activities designed to raise Autism-oriented awareness among partners in government, the media and civil society.

International Events:
Australia
Location: Sydney Maritime Museum
Date:Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 6 to 10 p.m.
Description: In Australia, the month of May has long been associated with autism, and in 2008, the May will be “Autism Month.” A variety of events will be taking place May 20 in Sydney: an exhibition, art projects and awards. The exhibition is for works composed by adults with an autism spectrum disorder. The exhibition is aimed at raising awareness of autism spectrum disorders, which affect an estimated 40,000 people in NSW. Autism spectrum disorders are lifelong disabilities that affect the way people communicate and relate to other people and the world around them. Difficulty in social and communication skills can lead to isolation and anxiety, not only for the people with autism but for their families as well. The art projects is aimed at developing fine motor skills, attention span, and pride in accomplishment. The clients are totally involved in the creative process, from selecting the medium, implement and surface, to choosing colours and assisting in any preparation and clean up. Through art the clients also develop social skills such as turn taking, listening, waiting and decision making. The Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions and achievements of extraordinary people and organisations in the autism spectrum community and in the wider community who support Autism Spectrum Australia. The Awards recognise the actions and achievements of people who go far beyond what might be reasonably expected. Through this award program, Autism Spectrum Australia celebrates these people and encourages others to achieve and excel.
Contact: Anthony Perl, aperl@autismspectrum.org.au

Bahrain
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, and throughout the entire month of April
Location: Manama, Bahrain
Description of event: The Bahrain Society for Children with Behavioral and Communication Difficulties will launch their first booklet about autism. It includes general information, drawings by children with autism, pictures, and parents’ thoughts. Throughout the month, a local television talk show will host parents of children with autism in order to discuss their experiences, their needs and what the future holds. Autism Speaks will host an awareness booth during the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on April 4, 5, and 6. This event hosts people from all over the region. Throughout the month, parents associated with AS will conduct weekly visits to local school to spread awareness among students.
Contact: autism@batelco.com.bh

Brunei Darussalam
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, and throughout the month of April
Location: Bandar Seri Begawan
Description of event: SMARTER Brunei “Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources” will be celebrating World Autism Awareness Day with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to show the collaboration of NGO and government agencies in combating autism. The events will be officiated by the Minister of Health and this will be the launching pad for AS’s Road Show for Awareness in Brunei. The entire month of April will be dedicated to autism with four major road shows in shopping malls and schools, and the culminating events of their Annual SMARTER Challenge with the seven-hill challenge to climb seven different hills in one day. “The symbolic purpose of this challenge is that the seven hills represent the seven days of the week that we have to face the world with our child with autism; these challenges need to be overcome every day, as the definition of autism is a lifelong delayed developmental process. It also means we have to revisit these hills every day and climb over them again and again. In order for us to acknowledge any person to be an independent individual they must at least achieve a level of competency in these seven life skills”.

Canada
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Location: Multiple locations
Description of event: Autism Speaks Canada is celebrating World Autism Awareness Day with efforts by involving national media to bring attention to this historic day. Federal and provincial government representatives are being encouraged to wear the Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin and officially recognize April 2 in the House of Commons and provincial legislatures. Autism Speaks Canada is planning a number of awareness events throughout April, including an awareness night with the Toronto Rock Lacrosse Team (April 12, Toronto, Ontario) and an autism-friendly movie day in partnership with Today’s Parent Magazine and Movies for Mommies (April 27, Rainbow Cinema – Promenade Mall – Thornhill, Ontario)
Contact: Autism Speaks Canada, 1-888-262-6227, autismspeakscanada@autismspeaks.org

China
Date: Sunday, March 23, 2008
Location: Nanjing Brain Hospital
Description of event: The Five Project, Inc., in cooperation with the Nanjing Brain Hospital and its affiliate Nanjing Child Mental Health Research Center, will host a celebration of WAAD on Sunday, March 23, where families of children and adults with autism will come together in the community to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. Brief remarks will be made about autism and WAAD, followed by an opportunity to informally share information and collect materials related to autism.
Contact: Helen McCabe, +011-86-15050550653, thefiveproject@yahoo.com

India
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Location: TBD, New Delhi
Description of event: The Autism Awareness Jamboree (AAJ, which means “today” in several Indian languages) will host activities that include meeting with government officials, sending an awareness packet to all members of parliament hanging awareness banners at popular intersections, metro entrances, craft markets, and other popular areas; and a central celebration that will include a painting carnival, an art show, a free walk-in consult from a team of psychiatrists and psychologists, and a display and sale of items by autistic children and adults.
Contact: Merry Barua, +011-91-11-40540991, actionforautism@gmail.com

Ireland:
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008-03-18
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Description of event: The Irish Society for Autism are planning to mark WAAD by re-launching the European Charter of Rights for People with Autism at a Press Reception in Dublin and by organising fun days at each of our four centres providing services to People with Autism.
President Mary McAleese is the patron of the Irish Society for Autism.
Contact: Mr. Pat Matthews, Irish Society for Autism, autism@isa.iol.ie
Namibia
Date: Saturday, April 5
Location: Auas Valley Shopping Centre, Windhoek
Description of event: Autism Namibia will flight a biodegradable balloon with a thought, prayer or good wish as a fundraiser on Saturday, April 5, at 12h00. A donation of N$5,00 will be asked for in order to participate. “They will ask that you write down your silent prayer or good wish for someone on a small piece of paper, to be handed in at any Waltons outlet, or send a list with names and wishes/ prayers / thoughts and proof of the deposit slip. Get family, friends, co-workers, schools and companies interested in joining and/or assisting. The strips of paper will be put into balloons to be released on 5 April. All donations welcome!”
The aim of this project is to raise awareness and funds to be able to train Namibian parents, teachers, therapists and other interested professionals in teaching and educating Namibian Children with specialised needs, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This will empower those trained and will assist towards optimizing the current state of affairs within the education system. With approximately 1 in 158 persons being on the Autism Spectrum, every school with 600 learners will have at least two children affected by ASD. Inform yourself, support us and assist in assuring that these children will receive the appropriate help.
Come join us and watch!
Contact: Petra Dillman, autnam@iway.na

Portugal:
An organization called the APPDA – Sao Miguel and Santa Maria will disclose the World Day of Awareness of Autism through the distribution of leaflets on Autism (prepared by the APPDA – Sao Miguel and Santa Maria) and the Charter of Rights of the Person Autista in Schools of Victoria, E / B dos Arrifes and Secondary Sunday Rebelo (schools of the District of Ponta Delgada), Health Centre of Ponta Delgada and External Consultations of Pediatrics, Hospital of the Divine Holy Spirit. (*This was directly translated from their email via google)
They attached a leaflet in Portuguese that is currently being translated by Dee and Danielle’s sister.

Russia:
“We are now in contact with an organization in Russia called “Dobro Association for Autistic Children Care”
One of our Chicago walk constituents has put us in touch with them and has informed them about WAAD. The response so far is positive and CNN has reached out to the organization as well. Per an email from the contact in Russia, he has sent information about WAAD to 15 organizations in Russia and will hopefully hear back from them soon”.

South Africa
Date: TBA
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Description of event: Hosted by Society for Children and Adults with Autism (Johannesburg), details TBA
Contact: Jenni Gous, keyschool@iafrica.com

South Africa
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Location: Ku De Ta, Floor, 112 Bloemhof Building, Edward Street, CT
Description of event: The Billionaire$ Ball at Ku De Ta, in support of Autism Western Cape Charity. Cover charge is R60-00 (this is seen as your full contribution – no further donations are anticipated from you on the night), and the doors open at 19:30 for a 20:00 event. DJ Nick E Louder will be featured, along with support DJs Mr. Wilko and DJ Nic-O. The Billionaire$ Ball, a fundraising initiative for the non-profit organization, Autism Western Cape is being held at the hugely renowned Ku De Ta venue. Featuring House music and funky Electro with the infamous DJ Nick E Louder and the resident DJ’s, Mr Wilko and Nic-O from Up 2 Scratch, we promise a top evening out with fantastic music and sheer entertainment.
Says DJ Nick E Louder: “This is a great opportunity for the nightlife entertainment industry to get actively involved and create awareness; there is not enough information out there for people to understand autism. More events like these will help put it in the public eye and hopefully raise funds to benefit autistic people and further their education in order to live a normal life in today’s society. We want to get as many people together as possible for this great party and do everything we can on World Autism day in the best positive way.”
Says Gerhard Pieterse, Executive Director of Autism Western Cape: “The current internationally acknowledged statistics are that 1 in 158 people are affected by autism, however latest UK research indicates 1 in 86. From this we can extrapolate that more than 500,000 people in SA are on the autistic spectrum. Events such as these are hugely beneficial both in raising awareness and contributing vital funds.”
So have a classy and funky evening out AND contribute to this very worthy cause by buying your ticket.
Contact: +27 21-910 2002, allas_kdt@yahoo.com

United Kingdom
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Location: Multiple locations
Decription of event: Autism Speaks UK is holding an “Authors for Autism Research” character auction on eBay beginning March 23 and ending on April 2. Bidders will be vying to have their name given to a character in a future work by leading UK and US authors. Among the authors participating are RJ Ellory, Ken Follet, Marti Leimbach and Esther Freud. Additionally, Isobel Bayonaras, President of the World Autism Organisation, will be speaking on international developments in autism at the meeting of the “All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism” at the House of Commons on April 2.
Contact: Autism Speaks United Kingdom: www.autismspeaks.org.uk

Venezuela:
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Location: Barinas, Venezuela
Description of event: Alianza de Padres Barineses de Adultos y Niños con Autismo (APABANA) will host a walk for autism, a gathering at the local square, and distribute information around the city.
Contact: Wilmar Palma, yunger11@yahoo.com

The Autism Awareness Campaign UK is calling on World Leaders and organisations to support World Autism DayThere are 60 million people with autism around the world. Many parents, carers, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are struggling without access to education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care. Early intervention is key. Autism Campaigners are urging United Nations Agencies to set up support structures for children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in the Third World.

Individuals can use World Autism Day to raise funds for the many autism organisations around the world and to write to national leaders and Governments in their countries urging action on autism and Asperger’s Syndrome and calling for better provision of public services.

For further information please see:
http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2007/071127_Autism.doc.htm

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