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06/02/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Autism Awareness Day 2010: Facts, Events, History (VIDEO)

World Autism Awareness Day 2010 is being celebrated today, April 2, 2010, worldwide.

The United Nations adopted a resolution on Dec. 18, 2007 declaring April 2 World Autism Awareness Day. The inaugural celebration on April 2, 2008 included 20 participating countries.

The U.N. notes that World Autism Awareness Day is meant "to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from the disorder so they can lead full and meaningful lives."

A lifelong disability, autism includes a group of brain development disorders that typically develop during an individual's first three years of life. It is well-documented to occur worldwide, according to Autism Speaks.

A number of events are being held internationally to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day 2010. Many events are being held today, and others are being held throughout April (and a few have already passed). A list of Autism Awareness Day events can be found here.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released the following statement for World Autism Awareness Day 2010:

"Let us join persons with autism, their families and their advocates in a community of voices for greater awareness and understanding. Let us also look within, and re-evaluate our attitudes and those of our societies so we can remove the prejudices that discriminate against persons with disabilities. Let us dedicate ourselves to creating a fair and caring society that affords true dignity and rights for all."


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