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With Resolution, UN Puts Focus On Developmental Disabilities

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The United Nations is urging countries worldwide to do more to support and accept people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

A resolution unanimously approved this week by the the U.N. General Assembly calls for member nations to embrace those with developmental disorders as full members of the community.

Under the resolution, the U.N. is encouraging countries to enhance access to support services, offer educational as well as life and social skills opportunities and take steps to promote awareness. The action also urges member nations to collect statistical and research data to allow for a greater understanding of individuals with disabilities within their borders.

The resolution was brought forward by representatives from Bangladesh with support from the United States and dozens of other nations. It passed without objection on Wednesday.

“We have a whole population whose talents go undiscovered and whose gifts go unshared, with their place in the world having only been carved out in niches,” a representative from Bangladesh told the body. “We urgently need to remove the stigma that is associated with disabilities in general and neurodevelopmental disorders specifically, and empower parents so that they can be partners in the treatment process and informed advocates for their loved ones.”

Advocates with Autism Speaks, which supported the resolution, said that approval allows U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to call attention to disability issues with leaders of member nations.

This is not the first time that the U.N. has taken action to address the circumstances of people with developmental disabilities specifically. The body recognizes autism and Down syndrome awareness days each year.

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