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World Autism Awareness Day – 192/2023

By April 3, 2023 No Comments

Today, Sunday 2nd April, we mark World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is a neurological condition that may be diagnosed during early childhood and sometimes later on in life, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. It is a lifelong condition and can affect people differently.

This year the United Nation’s focus is on accepting, supporting and including people on the autistic spectrum and advocating for their rights, also directing attention on the contributions that autistic people make to the world.

The Ministry of Equality has since its inception in 2011, worked at transforming the public view on disability from a medical model, where the focus was on curing the disability, to the social model, where the focus is on inclusion, accepting the individual and breaking barriers faced by these individuals. To achieve this, the Ministry of Equality has provided numerous seminars and training in relation to Autism for public sector professionals as well as to families and charities as part of its Autism Strategy and overall National Disability Strategy and work is being finalised on an Autism Pathway document so that all users and stakeholders are clear both in the services available and how they are accessed.

Last year, the old St Martin’s school building was handed to the charity PossAbilities so as to complement services already being provided by Government and allow significant improvement to the lives of people that require them.

Minister for Equality, the Hon. Samantha Sacramento, MP, said: “This day serves as an important opportunity to highlight different issues affecting people with autism and encourage people to talk about the subject.

It is very important to mention that excellent facilities and mechanisms are in place to provide early diagnosis of autism. Our Government has invested greatly in providing training for professional staff as well as for families. This allows for the provision of the best possible care and support right from the start. I am very pleased with the services being offered to support parents with children who have autism. I am sure that the Autism Pathway will be another tool used to help many families.

I would also like to congratulate all the different charities who provide so much support to families and whose work often goes unnoticed. Many of these charities are doing a lot to undertake awareness especially this week and over the weekend and I encourage everyone to attend and support the many fantastic events that are being organised by them at this time and throughout the year to raise awareness for Autism.”