Autism And The WHO

“For autistic individuals to succeed in this world, they need to find their strengths and the people that will help them get to their hopes and dreams. In order to do so, the ability to make and keep friends is a must. Amongst those friends, there must be mentors to show them the way. A supportive environment where they can learn from their mistakes is what we as a society need to create for them,” Bill Wong, Autistic Occupational Therapist



World Health Organization (WHO) and ASD’s

Reports issued by the WHO estimated that globally, one in every 160 people has an ASD. Worldwide, people with Autism Spectrum Disorders still represent an exposed group of which, a percentage remains exposed to discrimination, stigma, and other human rights offenses such equal rights to the public. Proper evaluation, early detection, and diagnosis, together with a suitable treatment plan can reduce the obstacles, difficulties, and challenges presented by ASD’s and can have a positive impact on the overall well-being and quality of life for those with ASD and their caregivers.

Globally, broader action plans and policies for accessible and supportive cultures for ASD’s are needed.  The WHO through consultation with a number of experts and panels developed a Parent Skills Training Package, WHO Parent Skills Training Package for caregivers of children with developmental disorders, which, aims at educating parents, caregivers, and teachers of children with developmental disorders.



Focusing on Global Challenges

Autism advocates, organizations, and parents, especially in the low to middle-income countries have brought attention to a number of challenges around ASD’s that required focus. The concerns raised include:

  • The need for public awareness programs
  • Removing prevalent stigma and discriminate acts
  • Communities not supporting or participating in advocacy efforts
  • Lack of, or limited government resources
  • Not enough accessible or affordable treatment
  • Inadequate medical services
  • Missed learning opportunities through not measuring performance of implemented programs and initiatives
  • Inefficient use of resources                                   



WHO Key Actions

 Strategy and action plans are being adapted to include the global challenges and a more structured framework implemented to apply and measure upcoming goals and objectives between WHO and partnerships which include advocates, organizations, and parents. WHO has committed to:

  • To rally support and commitment of governments
  • Establish a global support network of experts
  • Contribute, coordinate and share knowledge to enhance interventions and programs for Autism spectrum disorders as well as other developmental disorders
  • Contribute to enhancing the needs and resources and provide guidance to enhance and establish better policies for detection, assessment and treatment plans
  • Aid in establishing outcome objectives and indicators to measure success of proposed programs and services
  • Focus on providing cost-effective training materials and resources to aid in managing ASD’s and other developmental disorders
  • Establish material and resources that will allow for the same attention throughout the life span of care and treatment programs
  • Establish country support networks
  • Establish knowledge sharing and support systems that can act across borders
  • Offer support and guidance in establishing broader policies and framework to include the action plans and key objectives for long term maintenance of ASD and other developmental disorder policies and programs
  • Establish and support partnerships with governments, ASD advocates, caregivers, experts, medical professionals, and parents




The Following excerpt is from the Sixty-Seventh World Health Assembly on the Comprehensive and coordinated efforts for the management of autism spectrum disorders.



URGES Member States:

“(2) to develop or update and implement relevant policies, legislation, and multisectoral plans, as appropriate, in line with resolution WHA65.4 on the global burden of mental disorders, and supported by sufficient human, financial and technical resources to address issues related to autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disorders, as part of a comprehensive approach to supporting all persons living with mental health issues or disabilities;”

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