To celebrate World Autism Awareness Day on 2nd April each year, the ANS partners would dedicate this day to raise awareness about the needs of the persons on the autism spectrum and celebrate their strengths. A series of activities and campaigns are also organised in the month of April to raise awareness of autism.
What is World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD)?
Autism is a pervasive, neurodevelopmental disorder that affects tens of millions. The UN resolution was hence passed with the intention of bringing the world’s attention to the needs and struggles of persons living with autism among member states. Through the World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), member states participate by raising awareness about autism throughout society, as well as encourage early diagnosis and intervention. A key objective of WAAD was also to shed light on the high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.
Fun Fact: The Birth of World Autism Awareness Campaign in Singapore
It all began with a group of first year medical students from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Benjamin Sheares College, who had a common vision for social inclusion and integration of the autism community with the community at large. With the college embracing the autism cause, they played a central role in planning and co-ordinating the WAAD roadshows for the WAA(S) partners, organising a seminar series for caregivers and medical professionals, which drew a positive response year on year and liaising with building & attraction owners for the month long Light It Up Blue campaign (later renamed as Light Up for Autism).
As a result of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School students’ hard work during the early years of the WAAD campaign, it eventually led the WAA(S) partners to the form ANS, the first of its kind autism network in Singapore, on 7 April 2015.