(Sept. 22, 2014) After reaching out to Autism Speaks for guidance, the Caribbean nation of Aruba is creating a National Autism Coordinating Committee to develop a national strategy to improve opportunity and quality of life for children and adults affected by autism.
The formation of the committee follows a two-day meeting between Aruba’s ministers of health, education and social affairs and Autism Speaks Director of Public Health Research Michael Rosanoff. While in Aruba, Rosanoff also met with parents, individuals with autism, service providers and other advocates of the autism community.
“This is a beautiful example how [our] Ministries can join for an important cause such as autism," said Social Affairs and Aruba Labor Minister Paul Croes of Social Affairs and Labor. "I believe in inclusion and integration of every individual in our society." Croes also emphasized the urgency of early detection and effective intervention therapies.
During his visit, Rosanoff expressed Autism Speaks' commitment to help countries develop national strategies and programs. "Autism Speaks is more than ready to then help out with capacity building, starting with parents and caregivers, teachers and others who are already working with people affected by autism."
Aruba's commitment and proactive approach on autism has the potential to provide a powerful example for the Caribbean region, Rosanoff added. "Aruba can truly take a leadership position and eventually help other Caribbean countries in developing their own national strategies on autism."
The meetings were held under the auspice of the Aruba Autism Foundation (Fundacion Autismo Aruba), an active partner of Autism Speaks. Since its inception in 2005, the foundation has worked to improve autism awareness and services in Aruba. It has also sponsored research on autism’s prevalence on the island. It hailed the announcement of a national autism coordinating committee as a longtime goal.
With the help of Autism Speaks, Aruba’s National Autism Coordinating Committee will develop a national autism strategy to ensure that children and adults with autism reach their potential and become truly integrated within Aruban society, the government announced in this video release.
Autism Speaks Global Autism Public Health (GAPH) initiative partners with communities worldwide to increase autism awareness, research and access to autism services. (Read more about GAPH here.)