April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Designated by the UN, it’s a day to celebrate, accept and increase understanding around the world. CGTN’s Gerald Tan has more.
Autism spectrum disorder is not just one condition, but a broad range of them, characterized by challenges with communicating, socializing and repetitive behavior.
It’s estimated 70 million people worldwide live with autism. That’s about one percent of the planet’s population. Still, the figures are just estimates, as many governments do not actively track cases.
The United States does and reports that autism is about four times more common among boys than girls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says autism is now the fastest-growing developmental disability.
Autism can be influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are some who believe there is a connection between autism and vaccines, but extensive research has proven that there is no causal link.
According to the United Nations, about half of those on the autism spectrum currently do not have access to assistive technologies. It wants to change that.
And while the current push is to spread information and advance healthcare, many say it’s not just about autism awareness — the end goal is autism acceptance.