On World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), Train-ASD partners joined the Autism-Europe (AE)’s awareness raising campaign as a way of showing their commitment to promote a society inclusive of all and accepting of diversity.

It is estimated that 7 million people are on the autism spectrum in the European Union. Most of them experience widespread discrimination in many fields of life as well as social exclusion. In order to respond to the daily challenges autistic people face, AE is conducting a Europe-wide awareness raising campaign in 2019, together with its 90 member associations in 26 EU countries, with the motto “A New Dynamic for Autism. I ∞ autism”.

To raise awareness of the objectives of the campaign, AE encourages supporters to make the infinity symbol, which symbolizes neurodiversity, strength and unity. Making progress to improve life outcomes for autistic people and their families can only be achieved with mutual respect, and understanding. This year, the campaign is also closely linked to the objectives of Autism-Europe’s 12th International Congress, taking place in Nice, France, in September 2019.

Autism is a lifelong disability and all member states face similar challenges across Europe, including providing timely access to diagnosis, education, employment, housing and support for life in the community. A holistic approach is needed to respond to the needs of autistic people, and some member states perform better than others. A EU approach would help reduce inequalities and exchange good practices. It would also provide support for autistic people and their families to exercise their right of free movement more easily.

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