World Autism Awareness Day: History, symptoms, theme, social stigma and more

April 02, 2021 | Updated 10:54 am

World Autism Awareness Day: History, symptoms, theme, social stigma and more A teacher interacts with an autistic child in Xuzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province, Source|: Xinhua

New Delhi: April 2 is celebrated every year as World Autism Awareness Day. The United Nations (UN) on this day asks member states to raise awareness about autism and make people aware of the condition so as to reduce the social stigma that is attached with it.


In 2007 the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which aims to protect the rights of person with disabilities. The convention was signed on March 30, 2007 and came in to effect on May 3, 2007. Following this, the UN adopted April 2 as the World Autism Awareness Day.


The theme for the 2021 edition of the World Autism Awareness Day is ‘Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic World’.

What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder that impacts that impairs an individual’s ability to communicate. According to the United Nations “Autism is mainly characterised by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.”

Individuals suffering from Autism also express signs of repetitive behaviour, self harm and isolation. The term ‘Autism’ was first used by psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler in 1908.

A volunteer joins the autistic children in playing with building blocks during an interactive game in Beijing.
Source: Xinhua


There are several symptoms of the condition that range from individual to individual. Some of the symptoms are as following:

  • Difficulty in language communication.
  • Abnormal movement, and voice.
  • Limited Social Interaction.
  • Self-Harm behaviour.
  • Specific Repetitive behaviour.
  • High interest with specific topic.
  • Inappropriate social behaviour.
  • Long spells of self isolation

Social Stigma

However throughout the 20th century and 21st century the condition has been misunderstood by the common masses as to be a sign of insanity.

Furthermore, lack of effort by various countries ta raise awareness has only strengthened the stigma which causes many people to not avail themselves or their family members, friends of professional psychiatric help.


Even after a century of being discovered their is no cure for Autism. However, their have been several therapies that can minimise the impacts. The US Department of Health and Human Services say that there are 12 approved treatments for Autism which is decided by the doctor on a case to case basis.

These treatments are:

  • Behavioral management therapy
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Early intervention
  • Educational and school-based therapies
  • Joint attention therapy
  • Medication treatment
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Parent-mediated therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Speech-language therapy