International Conference on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The Three days “International Conference on Autism and Neuro-developmental Disorders” was inaugurated on 19th April at the Royal Banquet Hall, Thimphu.Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen, Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of The People’s Republic of Bangladesh and His Excellency Dasho Tshering Tobgay, the Prime Minister of Bhutan, graced the inaugural session. The conference was attended by about 423 participants from around the world and locally (International participants 211 from 28 countries and National participants 212) made up of senior government leaders, policymakers, experts and activists.

During the address, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stated “Governments should make policies and programmes to ensure that no individual is neglected. They deserve to have the opportunity to participate in their country’s economic growth. It is the responsibility of all to make sure adequate social and medical support for individuals with autism and neuro-development disorders. Let’s commit ourselves to recognizing their multi-faceted talents beyond the diagnosis of the disorder and enable them to live life with dignity and hope in our inclusive society.” The Prime Minister also said without a systematic framework for autism and other neuro-developmental disorders, service delivery cannot be effective, financially feasible or sustainable in the long run.

Her Majesty also launched the “Guideline for Differently-Abled Friendly Construction” developed by the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement, which is a comprehensive guideline for the universal design of new facilities and remodeling of existing structures to enable use by differently-abled people.

The overall theme of the conference is to develop effective and sustainable multi-sectoral programs for individuals, families and communities living with ASD and other neuro-developmental disorders. The objectives of the conference are to:

  1. Provide a platform for policy-makers to engage with all stakeholders
  2. Share and learn best practices for national-level development and deployment of programs
  3. Promote cooperation and partnerships for development of effective and sustainable programs

The Conference is being hosted by the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh, with the technical support of Shuchona Foundation, Ability Bhutan Society (ABS), and the World Health Organization South-East Asia Regional Office.

ABS would to offer our sincere thank to Ministry of Health, Bhutan, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh, Shuchona Foundation and the World Health Organisation South-East Asia Regional Office for including ABS as a technical partner in organizing the International Conference on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorder. It was effective platform for ABS to network with development partners from other countries. Our staff and Parents gained extremely useful and insightful knowledge and information on Autism from the conferences, which will greatly help us in providing quality services to our children.