National Autism Awareness Month begins

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President Barack Obama has proclaimed April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day.

“Men and women on the autism spectrum have thrived and excelled in communities across America and around the world. Yet, despite great progress in understanding (autism spectrum disorders), challenges remain for these individuals and their loved ones,” Obama said in the proclamation. “For too long, the needs of people living with autism and their families have gone without adequate support and understanding.

While we continue to encourage the development of resources for children on the autism spectrum and provide necessary resources for their families, we must also remember that young people with ASDs become adults with ASDs who deserve our support, our respect, and the opportunity to realize their highest aspirations.”

The full proclamation can be read here.

The announcement coincides with the beginning of National Autism Awareness Month. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, also released a statement.