Thursday, April 2, 2009

Autism. Awareness. Action.

I love children. They have so much enthusiasm for life. To look at the world through a child's eyes is a wonderful experience. I cannot begin to explain the peace I feel in my spirit upon gazing into the depths of a child's innocent eyes or the warmth I feel in my heart upon clasping a child's little hand in mine. 

I couldn't agree more with Walt Streightiff when he said, "There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million." Indeed! If there is one thing I've learned from a child, it's this: To consider every moment of my life a miracle of God. I can share to you a hundred other quotes about children, by children and for children and still fall short of words to explain the joy children bring.

I grew up in a large family with three siblings and many cousins. When I was only six or seven years old, I've had amazing opportunities to watch over my younger sister. When I was ten, I became Ate (older sister) to a baby brother.

Looking at family photo albums and seeing how my siblings, my cousins and I grew up together brings back fond memories; it is simply amazing. I can't believe how fast time has gone by at this point in my life. Four of 'the original eight' will be finishing their studies by next year, God-willing. On the other hand, one of my cousins will be starting a training program he applied to on the same day I will be having my first day at work this mid-April. Another cousin, Coco, has been working for a couple of years now. On a brighter note, his sister, Patsy, just graduated from college today. 

For many of us, life seems to go on as naturally as a river finding its way into the sea.

While thousands celebrate the beginning of another chapter in their lives this month with graduation ceremonies and commencement exercises here and there, I wish to put the spotlight on another very important event as well.

World Autism Awareness Day

On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, supported the campaign for a World Autism Awareness Day through the current 62nd UN General Assembly Session, garnering consensus support from all United Nations Member States.

This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.

World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.

About World Autism Awareness Day. (2009). Autism Speaks, Inc. Retrieved April 2, 2009 from

As a BS Psychology graduate, I want to do my part in empowering individuals with autism. While the course of the river may be rough for all of us, we have to be aware that many people have to go through a waterfall drop before they start the challenging journey down the riverbanks and into the ocean. Nevertheless, we can do something about it - to make the jump less intimidating and most definitely worthwhile.

I share Forest E. Witcraft's sentiment: "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."


  1. This is nice Lian. You'll enjoy your work because it's your passion at the same time. Good luck! :)

  2. Thanks, Neng! Hope to see you soon. :)


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