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Autism is a life-long neurological disease that can appear in early childhood. Autism is defined by its –
- Non-Standard social interactions,
- Great interests in specialized areas,
- Predisposition to routines,
- Difficulty in ordinary communication, and
- Distinctive methods of processing sensory information,
With the sole purpose of spreading autism awareness, the United Nations celebrates World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2 every year. Raising awareness will facilitate people’s understanding and accepting people suffering from autism, as well as supporting them and spreading kindness. 
A Timeline Review of Autism Classification
As an autism spectrum disorder, an individual’s behaviour and communication affect their ability to navigate social interactions. Repeated and restricted behaviours are a result of an autism diagnosis. 
It was Psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler who was the first to use the term “autism” in 1911 to refer to a group of symptoms thought to be common to schizophrenia as a result of the patient’s extreme social withdrawal. 
In 1943, pediatric psychiatrist Dr Leo Kanner published “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact” which defined autism as an emotional and social disorder, and in 1944, Hans Asperger published his “Autism Psychopathology Article” which described autism as a disorder of normal IQ children who have difficulty relating to others and with social and communication skills. As a result of these articles, autism was classified in 1980 as a separate disorder from schizophrenia.
The United Nations General Assembly for the first time on December 18, 2007, set April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day to raise awareness and support research to find better ways to help individuals with autism spectrum disorders. 
Furthermore, a spectrum view of autism was created by the American Psychiatric Association in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013, with each subcategory of autism and related conditions being grouped into one unified category with distinct symptoms and characteristics.
The Theme of This Year's Celebration
Since 2012, The UN has organized World Autism Awareness Day every year around a specific theme. In the context of last year’s WAAD Observance, “Inclusion in the Workplace”, “Inclusive Education” ties naturally to that theme.
The month of April is Autism Awareness Month. Throughout the month you will notice a lot of blues which is the symbol of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
Various events and conferences are held to celebrate the day including conferences for teachers, parents, and health care professionals. Additionally, children with autism have the opportunity to exhibit their artwork and participate in artistic workshops.
India On World Autism Awareness Day
The Action for Autism (AFA) recognizes its mission, which is to “facilitate a barrier-free environment – informational, attitudinal, and physical – to create opportunities for education, employment, and socialization for individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 
The National Centre for Autism, working together to build this global movement, is hosting the Autism Awareness Jamboree-AAJ on April 2nd to raise autism awareness. The AAJ’s primary features include the Art Carnival for special needs and mainstream school students, as well as the Free Multidisciplinary Consultation Camp at India Habitat Centre’s auditorium.
AFA organizes a variety of exciting events, such as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) on April 2nd, autism awareness walks, music concerts, dance performances, charity dinners, art displays, and carnivals, all of which have a “fun factor” while boosting autism awareness. 
The Contribution of Cinema
In general, it is useful to view documentaries and films to gain a deeper understanding of topics and issues we do not have much knowledge about. In the film industry, it’s important to have narratives that discuss a variety of issues, especially when it comes to mental health, disabilities, and other conditions that are unfortunately often stigmatized. Over decades we have seen many Hollywood films talk about these issues, however, it was in recent times when Bollywood also join the league.
Some of the famous movies on Autism are –
- My Name is Khan
- Rain Man
- I am Sam
- The black Balloon
- The Story of Luke
- Taare Zameen Par, etc
Increased Vulnerability of Autism Disorder Due to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked widespread dread and anxiety, as well as had a negative psychological impact on the planet. Stay-at-home orders, closures of nonessential services, and social distance requirements disproportionately affect children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 
Because of the communication, socialization, and executive functioning difficulties that are present in the diagnosis and its prevalent co-occurring problems, people with ASD may be particularly susceptible to this pandemic (e.g., anxiety disorder, intellectual disability). To modify behaviour throughout the epidemic, it has been critical to continuously absorb considerably and quickly change public health information across communities. 
Hundreds of thousands of landmarks, buildings, houses, and communities throughout the globe will Flash It Up Blue on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, in honour of persons with autism with the help of the international community. If you also want to join the cause, you can also take part in World Autism Month by –
- Joining 2.8 million social followers on Facebook and Twitter to help encourage understanding and acceptance by sharing or narrating your own story about persons on the spectrum.
- Invite your co-workers, classmates, and friends to be involved in the Campaign and promote acceptance, tolerance, and equality at school, work, and in your neighbourhood by doing regular selfless acts.
1. Although the specific origin of autism is unknown, doctors believe it is linked to hereditary or environmental factors. Although there is no cure for ASD, children and parents may benefit from speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational assistance, and a variety of other therapies.
2. The Autism Society of America estimates there are more than 3.5 million Americans on the autism spectrum. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 68 U.S. kids are diagnosed with ASD.
3. The goal of World Autism Awareness Day is to raise public awareness of persons with autism, particularly children. Educative activities for teachers, health care workers, and parents are common, as are exhibitions showing work done by children with autism.
4. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1 out of 160 children is diagnosed with ASD.
5. Donald Triplett was the first individual to get an autism diagnosis. He was born in Forest, Mississippi, to a family in 1933.
6. These activities will also reinforce the pledge made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind and to guarantee that all people may participate actively in peaceful and prosperous communities.
7. Based on the 2011 census, India has 78,62,921 children with disabilities under the age of 19, of which 5,95,089 have an intellectual disability. The research also indicates that one out of every 66 kids is autistic, in India.
8. They have also made an awareness video called ‘Autism: An Indian Perspective,’ a South Asian autism awareness video.
9. Individuals with ASD in the United States face a variety of challenges, including disruptions caused by educational and vocational changes challenges to home and leisure routines, limited access to behavioural health services, and changes in health service delivery due to the pandemic, according to this commentary.
10. Many people with ASD have difficulties with receptive communication and may have difficulties in processing information, which can make it difficult for them to respond to the epidemic effectively and efficiently.