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Populations in movement: Addressing the needs of migrants with autism

In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, United Nations panel discusses challenges and solutions to providing services to refugees and other migrants
March 31, 2017


In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day 2017, a panel of international leaders convened at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to discuss challenges and opportunities for the delivery of care and services to migrants with autism and other developmental disabilities. The event’s co-hosts included the permanent UN missions of Qatar, Bangladesh, China, India and Turkey, together with Autism Speaks.

Held annually at the UN headquarters, the event brings together international leaders to develop solutions for the most-pressing issues facing the global autism community. This year’s panel focused on the largely unmet need for autism services and supports in an increasingly mobile world – with more individuals and families moving in search of security and opportunities than ever before.

Moderated by CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk, the panelists included:

Werner Obermeyer, deputy to the executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Office at the United Nations;

Suzanne Sheldon, senior advisor and team leader for the Global Compact on Migration, International Organization for Migration to the UN;

Donald Wertlieb, of the Tufts University department of child development and coordinator of the Early Childhood Development Task Force for the Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund; and

Melissa Diamond, founder of a Global Voice for Autism.

Zsuzsanna Szilvasy, president of Autism Europe.

The organizers will summarize the panel’s recommendations in a consensus document that they will share with all UN member states and post on the Autism Speaks website when completed.

View the archived video of the panel discussion – “Populations in Movement: Addressing the Opportunities and Challenges to Ensure Care and Services to Migrants with Autism and Developmental Disabilities” –
at UN Web TV.
(Scroll down the page to “Recent On-Demand Videos.)