Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Not many children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, though some become successful. An autistic culture has developed, with some individuals seeking a cure and others believing autism should be accepted as a difference and not treated as a disorder.
In the world one out of every 160 children suffers from autism. In Sri Lanka one out of every 93 children suffer from autism and therefore the ratio in Sri Lanka is very high.
The annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day is about more than generating understanding; it is a call to action. It is meant to spur suchaction and draw attention to the unacceptable discrimination, abuse and isolation experienced by people with autism and their loved ones.
As highlighted by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with autism are equal citizens who should enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The National Program to mark the day would be held under the patronage of First Lady, Shiranthi Rajapaksa at the Colombo Town Hall.