On World Autism Awareness Day, the United Nations is spotlighting the unique skills of people with autism and the need to recognize their talents through an initiative inviting businesses to make concrete commitments to employ people on the autism spectrum.

“People with autism have enormous potential. Most have remarkable visual, artistic or academic skills. Thanks to the use of assistive technologies, non-verbal persons with autism can communicate and share their hidden capabilities,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement on the Day.

“Yet even where autism awareness is most advanced, more than 80 per cent of adults with autism are unemployed. That is why it is so important for employers to understand their unique and often exceptional skills, and to enable work environments where they can excel,” he added.

At a Headquarters event today, Mr. Ban will launch a ‘Call to Action’ initiative to urge employers to create work zones where people with autism can excel, as most have remarkable visual, artistic or academic skills.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life. It results from a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, mostly affecting children and adults in many countries irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. It is characterized by impairments in social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted, repetitive behaviour, interests and activities.

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