The United Nations on Thursday launched an employment campaign to highlight the unique potential of people with autism and called on businesses to make concrete commitments to employing people on the autism spectrum.
“My wife (Yoo Soon-taek) and I are delighted to launch an employment ‘Call to Action,’ inviting businesses to make concrete commitments to employing people on the autism spectrum,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here Thursday.
People with autism have enormous potential. Most have remarkable visual, artistic or academic skills. Thanks to the use of assistive technologies, non-verbal persons with autism can communicate and share their un-tapped capabilities, he said.
“We encourage public offices, corporations, and small businesses to have a closer look at the way they perceive people with autism, to take the time to learn about the condition and to create life-changing opportunities,” he said.
Ban’s wife, Yoo Soon-taek, echoed UN Secretary-General Ban by calling for greater access and more work opportunities for people with autism while attending a panel discussion held at the UN Headquarters in New York on World Autism Awareness Day.
Noting that despite some progress, “almost four out of five adults with autism are unemployed,” said Mrs. Ban, who has been working on promoting access and awareness on autism. “Companies need to understand and appreciate their extraordinary skills. This large, untapped pool of talent deserves recognition. People with autism deserve all possible opportunities to contribute to our world.”
World Autism Awareness Day, which is observed on April 2 each year, was adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly in 2007. It aims to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of children and adults, who are affected by autism, so they can lead full and meaningful lives.
“This day is a reminder that autism is a growing global health crisis and we need to act together,” said Sam K. Kutesa, president of the 69th Session of the General Assembly, in a statement delivered by a representative Thursday.
Recognizing the talents of persons on the autism spectrum, rather than focusing on their weaknesses, is essential to creating a society that is truly inclusive, said the Secretary-General.
One in 68 people suffers from autism spectrum disorder, amounting to an estimated 1 percent of the world’s population. The vast majority of those affected are children, according to the United Nations. Enditem