World Autism Awareness Day 2014
'Autism and work. Together we can.’ campaign
In 2014, Autism-Europe members conducted a campaign to raise awareness across Europe about the needs of adults with autism in the fields of education and employment.
Bell-ringing ceremonies for autism
For the fifth year in a row, Autism-Europe members were cooperating with NYSE Euronext to raise awareness of autism through bell-ringing ceremonies at stock exchanges in several cities across Europe.
Representatives of the Dutch Autism Association (Nederlandse Vereniging voor Autisme) joined Marjanka Hoogeweg, a woman with autism, and her assistance dog, Creb, in a bell-ringing ceremony at the stock exchange in Amsterdam on April 2.
More information: Marjolijn(at)tprf.nl
On April 2, the stock exchange in Brussels held a bell ringing ceremony to open the trading day. Minister for Health, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunity of the Wallonian Government, Eliane Tillieux, rang the bell alongside numerous guests from Flemish and Wallonian autism organisations and Autism-Europe’s Director, Aurélie Baranger.
More information: secretariat(at)autismeurope.org
Representatives of the Portuguese Autism Federation (Federação Portuguesa de Autismo) and people with autism rang the stock exchange’s closing bell during an event at the Gulbenkian Foundation to raise awareness of autism. The event was also attended by government representatives and professionals.
More information (Portuguese only)
The NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Paris held a bell ringing ceremony at the closing of the day’s trading on April 2. Vice President of Autism-Europe, Evelyne Friedel, joined representatives of French autism organisations to sound the bell. Adults with autism also attended the ceremony.
Events and activities across the globe
Once again, Autism-Europe members organised a wide range of events across Europe. Activities and events included bell-ringing ceremonies, art exhibitions, conferences and more - to mark World Autism Awareness Day.
In Wallonia, APEPA (Association de Parents pour l’Epanouissement des Personnes avec Autisme) organised a free screening of two films about autism. The documentary Le Mur - la psychanalyse à l'épreuve de l’autisme (The Wall - Psychoanalysis put to the test for autism) and the film Les Cerises Bleues (The blue cherries) were screened on April 2 in Namur. A debate among participants and autism professionals followed the screening.
In Zagreb, the Croatian Society for Autism and other associations organised an awareness-raising event that included a balloon release, information stands, a screen with images of people with autism and other activities. This event was attended by political representatives, academics, members of disability oganisations, parents and children with autism. Also, around the occasion of World Autism Awareness Day, government officials signed an agreement to develop uniform criteria for diagnosis and early intervention for autism which should be implemented in 2015, and the Croatian Society for Autism opened its new offices. In Rijeka, a photography exhibition was organised including information stands. Awareness-raising activities were also held in Osijek, Karlovac, Pula, Nova Gradiska, Cakovec, Varazdin, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split, and Kaštel Sućurac.
Members of Czech autism association, APLA, were planning several events in Prague and across the country, including a photo competition and a meeting for the European ‘Together We Can Manage’ project on autism and employment. Fundraising events, activities in schools and companies, a balloon release event, workshops and the opening of an ‘autism library’ also took place.
Autism Denmark organised the ‘Running for Autism’ race and several events in the municipality of Taastrup. About 250 people participated in these activities, which were broadcasted by Danish national media and included music sessions, games, the screening of awareness-raising videos and fundraising initiatives. Her Royal Highness Princess Marie of Denmark participated in the race.
In Athens, the Greek Society for the Protection of Autistic People (GSPAP) organised a conference which was focused on the legal rights of people with autism and support for families, among other issues. At the event, Professor Agni Vlavianos-Arvanitis, founder of the Biopolitics International Organisation and candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, was also elected as a ‘Good Will Ambassador for Autism.’
The International Cseperedő Foundation organised a conference titled 'Weekdays and holidays - autism in the family' on April 4 in Budapest. Keynote speakers included university professors and the mother of autism self-advocate, Temple Grandin. The event was also streamed online. An awareness-raising walk, a theatre play and other events also took place in Budapest and across the country.
Representatives of the Icelandic Autistic Society organised an opening event for an exhibition of artworks by women on the spectrum in Reykjavik on April 2. The event included a musical performance, an open discussion and the presentation of an annual award which recognises outstanding works in the field of autism.
Members of Gruppo Asperger and other autism organisations were planning activities in Rome including a national conference, flash mob, film screenings, concerts, athletics events, a football match, dancing, juggling, magic sessions and a ‘sensations room’ in which participants could gain an understanding of the sensory difficulties experienced by people with autism. There were information stands from autism advocacy organisations and self-advocates. In Florence, Turin and the region of Calabria seminars were held. In Turin, the ‘cinemAutismo’ film festival screened several movies about autism. In Milan, an art exhibition and a screening of the film ‘Temple Grandin’ was held. In several towns the film, ‘The Special Need’, was also screened.
In Vatican city, members of Fondazione Oltre il Labirinto ONLUS presented the ‘HugBike’ initiative to the Pope. ‘HugBike’ is a tandem bicycle designed to enable a person with autism to enjoy bicycle riding in a safe way, with another person. It is is assembled by people with disabilities, included children with autism, under the supervision of skilled workers.
The Latvian Autism Association, together with the Latvian State Employment Agency, held an informative lecture and film screening on the topic of autism and employment. The lecture and animated film produced by the Latvian Autism Association, titled Autism and Employment, provided an opportunity for career consultants to learn about employment opportunities and challenges for people with autism in the labour market. The film also included tips and guidelines on occupational health and safety.
Fondation Autisme Luxembourg organised several events and activities on April 2. These included a blue balloon release event, information stands run by people with Asperger’s syndrome and a seminar on the topic ‘Autism and work. Together we can.’
Members of the organisation Autismeforeningen i Norge (AIN) collaborated in staging a theatre play based on the children’s book about autism, titled ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night’. The organisation also held its Annual General Assembly meeting around World Autism Awareness Day.
SYNAPSIS Foundation and the ‘Zacheta’ national art gallery in Warsaw presented a sensory multimedia installation called CUBE. Users could step inside a giant cube and experience how people with autism might perceive the world. At the Baj Theatre, awareness-raising activities for children were also held.
More information (Polish only)
On April 2, Federação Portuguesa de Autismo organised a seminar about autism at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. The preliminary results of a study titled, The quality of life of families with children and youth with autism spectrum disorder in Portugal - diagnosis and social and economic impacts, were also presented at the event.
Members of the Spanish Autism Federation (FESPAU) were planning a wide range of events and activities around World Autism Awareness Day in Córdoba. These included a book presentation, a reading tour across several local schools, fundraising and leisure activities and two conferences. Córdoba City Council also signed an agreement to use pictograms for the signposting of public spaces across the city.
Members of the Confederación Autismo España were also organising several events and activities. These included a round table discussion, a ‘paella soliaria’ tasting, a blue balloon release event in Granada, as well as an art exhibition in Seville. A fundraising concert and three seminars on autism, inclusion and special education needs were held in Córdoba, and in Málaga a seminar on autism also took place. An open speech, balloon release and cycling activities were held in Ànsares (Huelva).
More information here and here
In Cádiz, the Centre for Children and Adolescents with Autism was opened on April 2. Representatives of government and autism organisations (including FESPAU and Autismo Cádiz) attended the event, together with families of people with autism.
Autismo Aragón organised open-air theatre plays, information stands and face painting activities at the Roberto Camardiel Escudero Park in Zaragoza.
In Mallorca, the organisation APNAB/Gaspar Hauser organised the ‘Dance, testimony and music’ event at the city’s cathedral on April 2. It included poetry reading sessions, testimonies of families of people with autism, a music concert, fundraising activities, a balloon release event and free chocolate.
In Donostia-San Sebastián, Gautena organised a ‘supportive walk’ on April 6. Participants wore blue t-shirts while walking the 3 kilometre route through the city. The walk was followed by a short speech. People with autism, their families and members of the public participated in the walk.
Castile and León
A debate to discuss the characteristics of people with autism was held at the Museum of History in the city of Medina de Pomar. The film, Temple Grandin, was screened and activities for children and a balloon release event were also organised. Autism Burgos also participated in a conference titled ‘Adolescence and adult life for people with autism.’
Across the region, members of the Confederación Autismo España organised several events and activities. These included a fundraising walk and a ‘multisensory’ activity at the ethnographic museum in Zamora, several concerts in León, and a magician performance and a ‘solidarity meal’ in Segovia. In Valladolid, awareness-raising activities including a celebration for the anniversary of a local residential centre for people with autism, family workshops, storytellings and puppet shows were held. In Palencia, a balloon release event and an awareness-raising speech took place.
Castile la Mancha
In Albacete and across the region, fundraising collections, a balloon release event, music and sport activities, and a ‘zumba’ session were held.
In La Garriga (a province of Barcelona) a manifesto was read during a plenary session at the town hall on March 26, and an awareness-raising banner was hung from the town hall’s balcony on April 2. In addition, Autisme La Garriga held a screening of the film, Adam, at the Music Auditorium on April 4. The association Aprenem also organised several awareness-raising events at the beach in Barcelona, including sport and dancing activities, as well as children’s games.
More information here and here
In Santa Pola, a street market and several leisure activities, including a ‘paella solidaria’ tasting, were held.
In Badajoz, the organisation APNABA planned a wide range of activities and events including a workshop about the legal capacity of people with disabilities, the reading of a manifesto to mark the day, musical activities, a paella tasting, handicrafts and games. A debate on the latest research on the causes of autism also took place.
More information: direccion-educativa(at)apnaba.org
Several organisations across the region organised many events, including the presentation of a project on cognitive accessibility, a photography exhibition, an awareness-raising concert and fundraising activities. Also, a short film screening, music and leisure activities, a balloon release event, a seminar and the opening of a new ‘sensory room’ in the village of A Estrada took place.
In Las Rozas, a special day with leisure activities took place on April 2.
A football match, an art exhibition and a presentation of the book ‘Mario’s silent joy' at the European Parliament in Brussels was organised by the organisation, Asociación Navarra de Autismo.
In Lugano, the ARES Foundation organised the ‘Autism and Free Time’ conference and presented the book ‘Mamma Disabilitata’ (Disabled Mom). Autismo Svizzera Italiana also held several activities for families and people with autism.
Autism NI conducted the ‘Rainbow Bounce’ initiative to raise awareness and funds in primary schools across the country. Students across Northern Ireland were being encouraged to participate by bouncing a ball, skipping with a skipping rope or bouncing on the spot and seeking financial sponsorship from friends and family to donate to Autism NI.
Light It Up Blue - the world lit up in blue for autism awareness
For the fifth year in a row, many cities in Europe joined the 'Light It Up Blue' initiative, with landmark buildings around the world lit up in blue for the night to raise awareness of autism.
More information about buildings and landmarks lit up in blue in Europe
and the rest of the world