World Autism Awareness Day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly five years ago as an annual day to draw attention to the urgent needs of people with autism around the world.
Autism is extremely common. Approximately 1 in 150 people have it . Yet it is a condition that is very often misunderstood and many people with autism across Europe still lack basic access to accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, education, employment and social inclusion.
For 5 million people in Europe who have autism, greater awareness is urgently required to enable them to live up to their full potential.
Events and awareness raising activities took place all over Europe for WAAD 2012. These included ceremonies, public talks, film festivals, art exhibitions, marches, flash mobs and many more.
In cities across Europe and around the world, prominent buildings were lit up blue for the night. These include the Chateau de Versailles near Paris, Wester Tower in Amsterdam, the Bourse in Brussels, the City Hall in Lisbon and the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. Since 2010, hundreds of buildings around the world have been lit up blue each year as part of an awareness raising initiative called ‘Light it up blue’ by US organisation, Autism Speaks.
 Autism Europe, 2010, Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders – Identification, Understanding, Intervention. This publication is available at: http://www.autismeurope.org/publications/documents-on-autism/