World Autism Organisation welcomes you!

With your help, can inform about Autism and related conditions to move
Beyond Awareness
Towards Acceptance, Understanding & Inclusion


WAO ONLINE SUPPORT FOR PARENTS:  Our WAO-Learning Channel is open!

Intro to Parenting your Autistic Child

The Autism-Communication Connection

The Autism-Sensory Connection

Autism & Visual Supports at Home


FREE 2-day  HYBRID conference:

27th of April – 28th of April 2024 – Ulaanbaatar – Mongolia

Hosted by: Аутизмд хийсэн аялал НҮТББ / Travel to Autism,  with the assistance of United Nations – Mongolia

         Apr 27, 2024 13:00  (5h00 UTC – Universal Standard Time)

        Apr 28, 2024 09:00  (9h00 UTC – Universal Standard Time)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 845 7340 7335

Passcode: 881188



2 April – World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD):  Did you get a chance to watch the UN live stream on their YouTube Channel?

The theme for 2024:  Moving from Surviving to Thriving

The UNITED NATIONS observance of World Autism Awareness Day provided a truly global overview of the state of the AWARENESS, ACCEPTANCE and APPRECIATION of autistic people and their contributions to society, from the perspective of autistic people themselves.

The three-part event is available to stream on demand on the United Nations YouTube channel (@united nations). The direct links to the discussions follow.

 (Part 1) Autism Awareness Day – Africa & Asia: Moving from Surviving to Thriving

Features an all-autistic lineup of speakers from Africa and Asia.

 (Part 2) Autism Awareness Day – Oceania & Europe: Moving from Surviving to Thriving

Features an all-autistic lineup of speakers from Oceania and Europe.

 (Part 3) Autism Awareness Day – The Americas: Moving from Surviving to Thriving

Features an all-autistic lineup of speakers from North America, the Caribbean and Latin America.


PLEASE GET INVOLVED Renew your membership or Become a Member

Individual membership is only 15 €!  Enrol a friend by gifting them  membership – it will help us make a difference!

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Gifts are welcome all year round — Donate memberships to those who cannot afford them.

–  GIVE A GIFT and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!                            

Autism and Aging – Cognition and Well-being

FREE Webinar:

1 p.m. Eastern time (US), Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Hilde Geurts, Ph.D.


Tune in to this presentation by Hilde Geurts, Ph.D. on research investigating autism, age-related cognition, and well-being.

When we become older, we all hope to become wiser and happier, but we also know that someday we will decline. This decline is apparent in both cognition and health. This is true for everyone, although large individual differences exist in when and how fast one declines. Whether or not being autistic impacts the when and how of this decline is the central question that will be addressed in the current talk. You will learn that the findings are mixed and the literature is still scarce. However, in general the future outlook seems highly similar for autistic and non-autistic people even though autistic people do seem to have an increased risk for specific health related conditions. I will touch upon topics such as menopause, camouflaging, and feelings of being in control as these are all relevant factors for one’s well-being.

This is a joint presentation by ARI and The World Autism Organisation.



Free certificates of participation are available upon successful completion of a brief knowledge quiz after the webinar.  The quiz will be added to the Autism Research Institute page once the event has concluded.

  • About the speaker:

    Hilde Geurts, Ph.D., is currently a professor in clinical neuropsychology and head of the section Brain & Cogntion at the Department of Psychology of the University of Amsterdam. Dr. Geurts studies autism and ADHD. Her starting point is the neurodiversity perspective, and she focuses on cognition (especially cognitive control/executive functioning), inter & intra individual variability, quality of life as well as interventions across the life span.

Biomarkers start telling us a story:
Autism pathophysiology revisited

FREE Webinar:

27 March 2024, 3 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.)

Antonio Persico, MD

Learn about emerging research on biomarkers and autism from a recent ARI Research Grant recipient.


This is a joint presentation by ARI & World Autism Organisation

Free certificates of participation are available upon successful completion of a brief knowledge quiz after the webinar. The quiz will be added to the Autism Research Institute page once the event has concluded.

  • About the speaker:Antonio Persico, MD, studied Psychiatry at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Rome, Italy) in 1990 and worked as Visiting Foreign Fellow at the Natl. Inst. on Drug Abuse (Baltimore, MD) between 1991 and 1994, with a focus on the genetics of drug addiction. Starting in 1995, at University “Campus Bio-Medico” (Rome, Italy), Dr. Persico began exploring the role of serotonin in neurodevelopment and the genetics of autism. Since then, autism and neurodevelopmental disorders have been his primary focus. In 2010, he started the clinical Unit of Child & Adolescent Neuropsychiatry at UCBM, then becoming in 2015 Full Professor of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry at the University of Messina (Italy). Here he directed the Interdepartmental Program “Autism 0-90” at the “G. Martino” University Hospital. Dr. Persico’s overarching target is to “link clinical phenomena to their genetic, epigenetic and neurobiological underpinnings in neurodevelopmental disorders.” His specific research interests are thus primarily translational: clustering autistic patients in biologically meaningful ways, identifying biomarkers for early diagnosis and to predict response/non-response to specific forms of therapies, developing novel evidence-based pharmacological, behavioral and occupational interventions. Dr. Persico’s goal is to “improve as much as possible the long-term trajectory and the quality of life of autistic individuals and their families at all ages.” Currently, Dr. Persico is at Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia.

From I am Special to H.A.P.P.Y.

Autism:  Moving  towards a neurodiversity perspective where we see neurological differences as a positive thing

by Peter Vermeulen, PhD

FREE Webinar:

13 December 2023, 1 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.)

A little bit more than 20 years ago, Peter Vermeulen developed a psycho-education program for children and youngsters on the autism spectrum, named ‘I am Special’ It was translated into more than 10 different languages and it is being used all over the world – also in Norwegian: Jeg er noe helt spesielt!

Times have changed. We are looking at autism in a quite different way than we did 20 years ago. We made the move from a purely deficit-based conceptualization of autism towards a neurodiversity perspective where we see neurological differences as a positive thing.

Despite having a brain that is differently wired, autistic individuals have the same human needs as any other human being. Now the time has come to focus on the similarities and not only the differences between autistic and non-autistic people. We are all a bit special! A shift towards a more positive approach with a focus on well-being, and not just the lack of well-being, is happening. This will also affect how we help autistic people to understand themselves and their needs.

Based on this evolution, we made a shift from ‘I am Special’ to ‘H.A.P.P.Y.’, a new psycho-education program focusing on happiness and well-being in autism. The H.A.P.P.Y. program results in an individualized well-being plan for an autistic child, youngster or adult, based on 10 evidence-based well-being strategies. These strategies are made autism friendly in the program. H.A.P.P.Y. is where autistic thinking and well-being meet each other.

In this presentation Peter will describe the shift in focus towards well-being and the backgrounds and content of the H.A.P.P.Y.-program.


This is a joint presentation by ARI & World Autism Organisation



Of course – all the sessions will be of use to teachers and professionals too!

Let’s Talk Visual Supports:

Learn about Communication Strategies for Home!

FREE Zoom meeting:
2 October 2023, 15h00 UTC; 1 pm EST (U.S.)

Stacy Badon – Everything Autism – Autism4Home

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 833 9237 2850

Passcode: 779536

Please send your name, surname and email address to:,
so that we can add them to the database for information and the next events,
and that you can be informed when the recordings are ready to be viewed on our website.




Social Media Use and Autism – Teens and Adults:

Learn research updates on the impact of social media use on teens and adults with autism

FREE Webinar:
20 September 2023
, 1 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.)

Pamela Wisniewski, PhD.

We often equate keeping teens safe online to shielding them from experiencing online risks – such as information breaches, cyberbullying, sexual solicitations, and exposure to explicit content. However, this abstinence-only approach tends to be very parent-centric and does not take into account the developmental needs and teen-centric experiences of our youth, including those who are on the Autism Spectrum. Instead, Dr. Wisniewski’s research emphasizes teaching teens how to appropriately leverage technology to their advantage, stay safe while doing so, and learn how to cope with online risks when they encounter them. As adults, we often assume teens have no personal agency when it comes to their own online safety, and that they cannot effectively manage online risks by themselves. Yet, as parents and educators, it is our job to teach Autistic teens these skills, so that they can become well-formed and independent adults. Autistic teens can disproportionately benefit and be harmed online; therefore, it is important to take evidence-based precautions that protect them from harm without limiting their opportunities to connect with others and benefit from what the internet has to offer. Note: Just like everyone else, Autistic teens all have different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, the perspectives shared during this talk may not be generalizable to all Autistic teens, particularly those who require more significant (i.e., Level 3) support in their daily lives.


Examining the Transition to Adulthood in Autism:

Challenges and Opportunities in the Aim of Thriving

FREE Webinar:
6 September 2023
, 1 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.)

David Nicholas, Ph.D.

Tune in to hear David Nicholas, PhD, presenting the results from a study that focused on transition to adulthood in Autism, including considerations for advancing service access and navigation, employment support, and post-secondary education access for Autistic adults. Recent findings addressing post-pandemic capacity-building in these areas will be offered.

This is a joint presentation by ARI and the World Autism Organisation.


Advocacy welcome, but please make sure to include autistic people!




Listen Movie:

The Autistic Strategies Network is a collaborative initiative by autistic people to optimise autism individually and in society.

“Optimising autism” means making our autism work as well as possible.
We started in South Africa and focus on Africa. We collaborate internationally.
We make mistakes and learn along the way. We invite you to join our journey.

Along with activists from around the continent, we contribute to the Autism in Africa | CRPD project on Twitter and FacebookJoin our mailing list for news of CRPD training events.



The General Assembly will be held online at (to be advised) UTC/ITC/GMT
on Saturday, 4 November 2023.

Subscribed and paid up members may vote. Visitors are welcome but cannot vote.
Registration is essential: send and email to with ‘Request for link for GA attendance’ in the subject line. The link, as well as other relevant information will be sent some days before the event.

It was decided at the General Assembly in 2020 that INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP be reduced from €30 to €15,
to make membership more accessible for those in lesser resourced countries or circumstances.

Click here to: Become a Member

to renew your membership or sign up. (Membership renewal forms get sent out in January).

You also have the opportunity to GIFT membership:
Members may gift or sponsor individual membership by filling in their chosen beneficiary’s details or by sending it as an open sponsorship to be allocated by the Membership committee.

If you would like to apply for sponsored membership, you may do so by sending an email to with SPONSORED MEMBER in the subject line and the following details:

Your name;  whether you are autistic, a family member of someone who is autistic, a teacher, assistant, care worker or how you are involved with Autism;  your postal and email address, country where you live and a short motivation as to why you need to be sponsored.  Sponsorships may be granted depending on donor sponsorships being available.  The membership sponsor committee will take the final decision and no discussions will be entered into.  We would also like to know in what way you hope to make a difference within your community with your sponsored membership from the World Autism Organisation.

The WORLD AUTISM ORGANISATION does not have salaried employees, we are all volunteers, thus any and all funds go towards improving the lives and outcomes of those with Autism and their families.
We are grateful for any and all DONATIONS to support our work:

To DONATE any amount please go to the following link:

Please send proof of payment, including Amount and Full Name of Donor or Organisation Name, email address and telephone number to

Thank you for your support!
We truly appreciate all contributions tremendously!

We hope that you are keeping healthy and safe by following the rules of sanitising, masking and keeping a safe distance.  It is a difficult time for everyone around the world.  We hope to be able to share some good practices and visual explanations so that it is easier to manage our daily lives within the home and outside in the community and in society.

For more information, questions and notification of broken links,  please send an email to

Definition of Autism

According to our current constitution, Autism is understood in accordance with the definitions formulated in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder IV) and the ICD 10 (International Classification of Diseases). DSM-V is being used, with the difference that more positive ways of descriptions, reporting or advice are promoted. We are working on updating the constitution to reflect current Good Autism Practice.

Furthermore we are in the process of updating the definition in line with the UNCRPD, We are enlisting the help of Autistics to formulate an Autism-friendly definition which takes into consideration the lived experience of Autism, as well as acknowledging the need for a formal or fairly uniform definition for assessment and diagnostic purposes. We welcome your input to

The objectives of World Autism Organisation are :

  1. to promote among all people and nations the highest possible quality of life for people with autism and their families. To this end World Autism Organisation will act as:

    • an advocate of measures to promote such quality of life;

    • a leader in developing, proposing and recommending such measures;

    • a communicator of plans for and progress of autistic projects and practices;

    • a co-ordinator of efforts of national member associations, government agencies, professional groups and international organisations to advance understanding and services for persons with autism;

    • where no such national organisation exists, provide information directly to autistic people their parents and families and if they so request provide support in the establishment of such an organisation.

  1. to strengthen the self-awareness of persons with autism, to develop their personality, self-respect and sense of responsibility ;

  2. to advance the rights of people with autism and their families without regard to nationality, race, gender or creed, by securing on their behalf from all possible sources, the provision of support, residential, educational, training, employment and welfare health services ;

  3. to create a common bond of understanding among persons with autism, their parents and families throughout the world ;

  4. to promote the interests of persons with autism and their families by bringing about co-operation among organisations representing national endeavour in their behalf ;

  5. to promote the highest possible level of knowledge and competency among professionals of autism, encompassing the most current scientific information and validated techniques.

The functions of the World Autism Organisation are:

To attain the above objectives, the World Autism Organisation, in collaboration with Regional and National Organisations, will work consistently and tirelessly :

  1. to improve and modernise throughout the world public policies and practices governing the education, health, welfare, social security, rehabilitation, employment, sports and recreation for people with autism ;

  2. to encourage the exchange of information and experience between all organisations whose activities relate to the goals of World Autism Organisation ;

  3. to disseminate accurate information and to promote enlightened attitudes on the part of the people of the world towards people with autism ;

    to encourage and co-ordinate the conduct of research and studies in all fields of autism ;

  4. to promote and co-ordinate technical and material assistance in furtherance of the aims of World Autism Organisation in areas where such help is required ;

  5. to solicit the support of national governments, national and international organisations everywhere to support programmes and policies of World Autism Organisation

    and of organisations of and for people with autism and their families, and to assist and to advise those bodies in their implementation ;

  6. to take any other measures necessary or conducive to the achievement of the objectives of World Autism Organisation.