Home > Awareness > Solving the Autism Public Health Puzzle: Regional and International Collaboration

Solving the Autism Public Health Puzzle: Regional and International Collaboration

On Wednesday, April 6, Autism Speaks joined the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the U.N. and the U.N. Department of Public Information at the United Nations to present Solving the Autism Public Health Puzzle: Regional and International Collaboration, a panel discussion on autism. The United States Mission to the U.N. also co-sponsored the event, which was streamed live on the U.N. website. (Watch archived video of the whole event here or view it below).

United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon opened the event talking about the U.N.’s commitment to raising autism awareness and creating greater acceptance. “This day is a call to action for all of us who want a more compassionate and inclusive world,” said the Secretary-General. “We have to raise funds to turn workable solutions into practical actions.”

He was followed by Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations and Mr. Fredrick D. Barton, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the U.N. Suzanne and Bob Wright also addressed the several hundred dignitaries and families affected by autism in attendance. They updated the audience on Autism Speaks successful Light It Up Blue Campaign, where 1400 buildings turned blue in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day. A video recapping all of the Light It Up Blue activities ran just before the Wrights’ presentation. Suzanne Wright commented on a new collaboration with the U.N. “Through these kinds of meetings, we are making tremendous headway to increased awareness. This translates to innovative research, improved services and better treatments for families.”

The international coalition in attendance represented a wide array of countries. The participation of the some of the world’s top dignitaries demonstrated a striking endorsement of global efforts to raise autism awareness. Members of the audience, which included Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of the U.N. Secretary-General, took part in an interactive panel discussion on autism moderated by Russ Mitchell, CBS Weekend Evening News and CBS Saturday Early Show Anchor. Panelists included Professor Saima Wazed Hossain, Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh; Shekhar Saxena, M.D., Director, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization; Amy Gravino, Asperger’s Syndrome College Coach and Self-Advocate and Geri Dawson, Ph.D., Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer. The panelists discussed an international pathway to raise global awareness and promote research into this non-discriminative disorder. Amy Gravino was particularly poignant sharing her personal struggles with autism, but concluded her story with a message of hope that visibly resounded with audience members, “It is my wish that individuals with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome all across the world will know their own strengths – the skills, the abilities and things they’re capable of, rather than the things they’re not capable of.”

The event was an amazing show of support for the global autism community and a promise of a longstanding partnership.

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  1. Katie Wright
    April 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    This was a very nice event.
    I was pleased to see how well attended it was.

    The young woman with aspergers gave an inspiring speech about her struggles w/ bullying and self acceptance. She was wonderful.

    However, I was very disappointed that the parent of a severely affected child was not invited to be part of this forum. If we only include those who are among the most hugh functioning in our community we do the wider community a disservice. For the vast majority of those w/ ASD, struggles are much more severe and debilitating in nature. How can the audience understand that if we only present the best case scenario?

    Where was the discussion of ASD as a disease? If we do not present narratives from the other side of the spectrum how can we expect others to understand the urgency of biomedical interventions? Yes Dr. Dawson did a nice job of mentioning these issues but nothing is a powerful as a first person narrative.

    Let’s not forget those without a voice.

  2. April 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    It is my hope that all of the children around the world will know freedom from the symptoms of autism. It is not enough to be compassionate and ask them to live a life with autism when the cause has been identified and prevention appears possible based upon my recent research. This research into the cause of autism also showed promising results with most forms of autism when simple dietary changes were implemented. Certainly more confirmation of this is in order but it is time that research provides the answers to rid the world of these man caused disorders through faulty dietary recommendations.

  3. April 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I’m really liking what your said here. I should agree together with your every single word.

  4. Dr k.d.k.kuruppu
    June 8, 2011 at 5:40 am

    I interest about the regional conference on autism from 25to 27 July 2011 pl send the details
    Dr kuruppu
    sri lanka

  1. April 9, 2011 at 1:13 am
  2. April 28, 2011 at 8:08 am

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