International Autism Day Observed in Moldova

Chisinau, Moldova - UPF-Moldova joined several organizations in observing World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, through a variety of events in Chisinau raising awareness of the challenges presented by the growing numbers of children worldwide diagnosed with the disorder.

In December of 2007, the UN designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day with the goal to speed up and unite global efforts for understanding autism. Autism refers to a group of complex disorders of brain development, characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

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This year, Autism Awareness Day programs were organized by SOS Autism NGO in partnership with Presidential Office, UNICEF, the B.P. Hasdeu Public Library, Autism Speaks and other NGOs. Volunteers distributed informational flyers about autism. Also this day marked the opening of a photo exhibition with works of famous photographers from Moldova. Parents of children with autism wanted to show through this to the world that their children are similar in rights and interests with all other children.

After the opening of the exhibition, a group of high-level guests visited the Autism Resource Center and participated in a round-table discussion with over 200 professionals working in the field. UPF representatives also participated in this meeting.

As the honorary president of the NGO SOS Autism, First Lady Margareta Timofti spoke about the progress made during last year in raising awareness and assisting children with autism. She expressed thanks to UPF for its support in providing ipads and laptop computers to support the education programs at the Center for Children with Autism.

The day closed with a flash-mob with over 300 participants -- parents, teachers, volunteers, ambassadors, and other high dignitaries -- launching blue Lanterns, joining in the global campaign: Autism Speaks: “Light It Up Blue,” which has the goal of increasing public awareness about the challenges of autism.

UPF volunteers from Japan were introduced to the first lady and had an opportunity to take a picture with her.

To read the blog post by Madam Timofti about the event, click here. For more information about World Autism Awareness Day, click here.

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