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World Autism Day calls for public awareness, end to stigma

By JT - Apr 02,2018 - Last updated at Apr 02,2018

Several landmarks in Amman joined the ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign organised by Autism Mena to commemorate the annual World Autism Awareness Day (Photo courtesy of Landmark Hotel Facebook page)

AMMAN — Jordan on Monday celebrated World Autism Awareness Day under the slogan "Empowering Women and Girls with Autism", according to a Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI) statement. 

SIGI referred to a UN report showing that women and girls with mental disabilities, including autism, suffer more from social violence than men with the same condition.

The statement cited journalist Steve Silberman's claim that major misconceptions on autism remain, including the fact that autism is rare, that autistic people show no sympathy to others and that there is an exaggeration in the diagnosis of children with unconventional behaviour as autistic.

According to the United Nations, autism is "a life-long neurological condition that shows at an early childhood stage, regardless of gender, race, or social and economical conditions". 

The term autism entails a number of characteristics and part of providing support to people with this neurological condition includes adapting to it. In the statement, SIGI stressed that autistic people should "have the chance to fully and actively participate in the community".

According to the statement, the neurological difference is still associated with stigma and discrimination, which should be addressed by policy makers and international institutions.

While no accurate number exist about autistic people in Jordan, the statement indicated that one to two out of 100 people live with autism globally, adding that number of males with autism is four times higher than females. 

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