Discussion on Availability and Effectiveness of Support Programmes for Children with Autism and Their Families

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. Celebration of this day aims to promote the full realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for people with autism. This year's theme of April 2 is: "Moving from Surviving to Thriving," which emphasizes the importance of making more efforts from meeting the minimum needs of people with autism to their full inclusion in society.

On April 2, 2024, Deputy Public Defender of Georgia Irine Chikhladze took part in the event and panel discussion dedicated to the World Autism Awareness Day.

The availability and effectiveness of support services/programmes needed for children with autism and their families were discussed at the meeting. Other topics discussed included the measures implemented, issues of ensuring coordination, main challenges, inclusion of children with autism in the educational process, inclusive policy and existing resources.

The Deputy Public Defender of Georgia spoke about the main challenges in the direction of the rights of children with autism and their well-being, as well as the necessary measures for advocacy. According to her, Georgia made some progress in terms of establishing necessary services, raising awareness of people with autism, increasing their visibility and integrating them into society.

"All these achievements are related to the efforts of parents of children with autism, who have worked tirelessly to protect the rights of children and adults with autism.

However, despite the progress, significant problems are evident in the direction of rehabilitation. In particular, rehabilitation programmes cannot fully cover all children with relevant needs living in the country; and, after reaching adulthood, due to the lack of programmes, they remain without the necessary rehabilitation, which contributes to their exclusion and dilutes the progress made by the service in childhood. We should discuss these very issues and the ways to solve them," said Irine Chikhladze, expressing her hope that the discussion would significantly contribute to the start of the process and the establishment of correct, targeted and necessary services for all people with autism.

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