World Autism Awareness day has been an international movement for the last several years, sponsored by Autism Speaks, a US organization.
In Peru, Manos Unidas has celebrated WAAD on April 2 for 8 years. It is a fantastic way to bring awareness to the Cusco community on education opportunities, detection and rights for families of children with autism.
This year we celebrated with a dynmaic group of artists and clowns who marched up the Ave. de Sol, leading a group of over 100 children and adults playing African drums, singing and dancing to draw attention to the banners that our youth carried. Some said “we all have rights to education”, “autism is not a disease” “i am a person with autism”.
The parade finished just outside of the Cafe Daria, Manos Unidas vocational training site for youth with special needs, to inaugurate the Cafe and celebrate this special day.
MUP’s special needs school, “Camino Nuevo”, leads a profound autism education program based on principals of Applied Behavior analysis, lead by Dr. Mapy Chavez PhD, BCBA-D, CABAS® .Camino Nuevo now has 80% enrollment of children on the autism spectrum and a long waiting list.
Events like WAAD demonstrate MUP’s committment to educating an entire community around autism issues, not just the children enrolled at our school.