Autism Awareness Day: Today

d 200804 d 200804 WAAD7 02 180wideToday marks the fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day.

Ever year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with fundraising events, promotions and other activities.

Some ways the world is celebrating include Autism Speaks ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the Vatican calling for sensitivity on Monday.

World Autism Awareness Day is fairly new and first started in 2007, when the United Nations General Assembly declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day, a day to shine a light on autism as a growing global health crisis that affects tens of millions, as well as increase world knowledge of autism.

Interestingly, this UN resolution is one of only three official health-specific United Nations Days.

“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,” reads the Autism Speaks website.

World Autism Awareness Day also a day dedicated to celebrating the unique talents of those with autism. For example, Long Island restaurant, Fork & Vine will be promoting artistic folks with autism throughout the entire month starting today. The restaurant is hosting a special exhibit that will show the work of a mother and daughter as well as a 17-year-old high school student, all of whom have autism.