Pope Francis Takes Major Step Toward Eliminating Global Autism Stigma

This weekend marks a major step towards acceptance for people with an autism spectrum disorder.

Thursday will be the beginning of a three-day international conference at the Vatican on the subject of autism, The Washington Post reported.

The conference will include presentations by experts from 57 countries to discuss genetic research, government policies toward people with autism and the Catholic Church’s role in inclusion of people with autism. The U.S. advocacy organization Autism Speaks will also be there to present.

“We zeroed in on the pope, and this pope in particular, because he has such a gift for reaching out to people,” Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, told the Post, “and he wants the church to be more inclusive.”

Reverend P. Augusto Chendi, of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, said the goal of the event is to “help break the isolation, and in many cases, the stigma that surrounds people affected by autistic spectrum disorders,” according to the Associated Press.

It will come to a close on Saturday with Pope Francis holding an audience and delivering a speech on the subject that will include music for the children present.

Watch Autism Speaks co-founders Bob and Suzanne Wright discuss this historic conference in the video below:



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