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Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka at UN: Ensure societal inclusion of children with autism

  • One in 100 detected with autism spectrum disorder in 2022
  • Importance of accelerating awareness, actions highlighted
Update : 06 Apr 2024, 10:38 AM

Bangladesh at a UN event called for collective actions to ensure the rights, dignity and well-being of children with autism.

“It is alarming that in 2022, one in 100 persons have been detected to have autism spectrum disorder. We must step up efforts to ensure their overall well-being and societal inclusion,” said Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith at the observance of World Autism Awareness Day at the UN in New York on Friday.

“Let us work together to increase awareness and advocacy to ensure the rights, dignity, and well-being of children with developmental disabilities including autism,” said the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh, Ghana, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar and Zambia co-hosted the event in partnership with key civil society organizations working in the field of autism and developmental disabilities.

The event featured an open forum and an art and fashion exhibition that displayed the artistic work of children with autism, the Bangladesh mission in the UN said.

Ambassador Muhith and Ambassador Manuel L Lagdameo of the Philippines jointly cut the ribbon for the exhibition.

At the open forum, Bangladesh highlighted the importance of accelerating awareness and actions towards addressing the challenges faced by children with autism and their families, at a time when the world faces an increased prevalence of autism.

Referring to the 2011 Dhaka Declaration on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities, Bangladesh highlighted the progress made in raising awareness of autism, especially in South East Asia, which accounts for almost 15% of the global prevalence of developmental disabilities.

In this regard, the role of dedicated advocates, including self-advocates and caregivers’ associations, and policy-makers was recognized.

The Dhaka Declaration and subsequent developments in the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia helped accelerate efforts in the region to improve inclusion, participation and community-based care of children with ASD.

“Yet significant gap remains in ensuring universal access to health care, support and inclusive environments for the children with developmental disabilities, which is more prominent in developing countries”.

In this regard, Bangladesh called for increased cooperation and investments towards ensuring education, social inclusion, and quality healthcare services to children with autism. An advocates’ call to action was launched at the meeting.

The inauguration of the Art and Fashion exhibition was participated by a large number of audiences including diplomats, self-advocates and parent advocates, civil society organizations and artists with developmental disabilities.

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