GFDD/Funglode Celebrates Autism Day with a Multidisciplinary Panel of Experts in Santo Domingo

April 6, 2015

Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), in cooperation with its health branch, the Center for Health Studies and its sister organization in the Dominican Republic, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode) will host, along with the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities in Miami (UM-NSU CARD), Loxim and ORDER, a panel discussion on Friday, April 10, titled "Path Towards Inclusion: How to Understand Autism". As part of the
United Nation”s Autism Awareness Day, the objective of GFDD/Funglode in organizing this event is to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas about autism from a variety of perspectives: family, educational and clinical.

The panel speakers, that will take place at Funglode’s headquarters, will include Dr. Maritza López Custodio, Psychiatrist, Specialist on Autism; Sara Dajer, M.S. Ed., Case Manager, Educational Support Services; Xiomara Lora,
Specialist on Systems Thinking, and Yvette Bermúdez, Therapist specialized in Functional Neurological Development.

The Director of the GFDD office in New York, Yamile Eusebio, explains that the main reason for the event "is to support the UN observances that are part of its schedule of special occasions and to provide a forum for discussion and for the exchange of ideas on the subject of autism from a different perspective." For example, Bermúdez seeks
to develop the children’s maximum capacities through neuro-functional development therapies, whereas Lorda addresses systemic perspectives that integrate the school, family and society to analyze the situation and to seek appropriate spaces for emotional development, Eusebio explains.

World Autism Awareness Day: 2 April
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to
highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of children and adults, who are affected by autism, so they can lead full and meaningful lives. The theme of this year’s World Autism Awareness Day is “Employment: The Autism Advantage”.

It is estimated that more than 80% of adults with autism are unemployed. Research suggests that employers are missing out on abilities that that people on the autism spectrum have in greater abundance
than “neurotypical” workers do – such as, heightened abilities in pattern recognition and logical reasoning, as well as a greater attention to detail. The hurdles that need to be overcome to unleash this potential include: a shortage of vocational training, inadequate support with job placement, and pervasive discrimination.