United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres underscored in his message on World Autism Awareness Day, the importance of technology which helps people living with autism “achieve their full potential”.

He said celebrating the diversity of their global community and strengthening their commitment to the full inclusion and participation of people with autism is a vital part of their efforts to uphold the core promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: to leave no one behind.

He said this year’s observance underscores the importance of “affordable assistive technologies” to help people with autism live independently and “exercise their basic human rights”.

However, the UN Secretary General pointed out that there are still “major barriers to accessing such technologies”, including high costs, unavailability and a lack of awareness of their potential.

“On World Autism Awareness Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to these values which include equality, equity and inclusion and to promoting the full participation of all people with autism, by ensuring that they have the necessary tools to exercise their rights and fundamental freedoms,” he added.

He further called on all to empower women and girls with autism and involve them and their advocates in policy and decision-making to address the challenges they face.