2015 World Autism Awareness Day Celebration
Date April 2nd, 2015 | Venue Sejong Hall, Sejong Center for the Performing Arts
It is a great pleasure to be here today. I am the mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon. World Autism Awareness Day was designated by the UN in 2007, and this year we celebrate its 8th anniversary. However, our society still seems to have little understanding and concern about autism. Even though autistic disorders make it difficult for individuals to make decisions and use judgment, creating a great deal of hardships in everyday life, it was not classified as a disorder until 2000. We still see that the responsibility of autism is still considered to lie in the family. The misconceptions and misunderstandings about autism are deeply rooted, and our society has little consideration to understand and respect patients with autistic disorders.
It is for these reasons that the Seoul Metropolitan Government is striving to arouse social understanding and sympathy about autism patients and help them to live with pride as our neighbors and citizens. For this reason, the Happiness Plus Developmental Disorder Center was opened in February, and about 60 patients with autistic and developmental disorders are being taken care of and given the tools to live independently.
In addition, the Development Center of Children’s Hospital is being constructed in cooperation with the Samsung Group to open in 2017. Once completed, it is expected to hugely reduce the unfortunate instances of patients missing opportunities to receive timely treatment due to long waitlists.
The government will do its best to establish the foundation for a society where disabilities are no longer disabilities, the disabled and non-disabled work together, and where the disabled can enjoy life and grow as proud citizens. Please join us.
Today, on World Autism Awareness Day 2015, I hope that social understanding and sympathy for autism will be formed, and more people take the opportunity to learn more about autism and take the time to think about those suffering from the illness. I send much love to all of you. Thank you very much.