World Autism Awareness Day, which takes place on April 2, aims to increase awareness and acceptance of people with autism. It also provides people across the world with an opportunity to reflect on how society can better help people with disabilities.
Autism awareness picks up online traction in China
There are over 10 million people who have an autism diagnosis in China of which 2 million are children according to WABC. Autism and intellectual disabilities have been the centre of campaigns, social media discussion and educational videos in recent years, resulting in growing awareness among the Chinese public.
In 2008, Children of the Stars, a documentary that focuses on the daily life of an autistic child and the difficulties that he and his family face, brought autism to the attention of its Chinese viewers. The film partially resulted in the term ‘children of the stars’ being associated with autism.
Since then, the hashtag ‘#children of the stars’ (#星星的孩子) has picked up 200 million views on Weibo and has been used to discuss the topic of autism more generally. Similarly, short video platform Douyin launched ‘#hello children of the stars’ (#你好星星的孩子) to encourage users to share stories and raise awareness about autism. The hashtag has so far picked up over 25 billion views. Social media has cultivated a conversation about disabilities, and ‘#approximately 1 in 68 children in China is on the autism spectrum’ (#我国每68名孩子中约有1名患自闭症) has been trending on Weibo with 510 million views.
WABC improves autism awareness through art
One organisation that has contributed to this growing understanding is the World of Art Brut Culture (WABC). Founded in 2010, WABC is a not-for-profit organisation that fosters an interest in art and develops the artistic skills of people with intellectual disabilities. By providing free art courses, putting on exhibitions and social advocacy, WABC aims for the achievements of people with autism to be recognised and appreciated by society. By doing so, they also seek to diminish the stereotypes and prejudices they face.
Look for talented people with disabilities and help them to build a stage where they can express themselves and communicate with the world.Mission of WABC
In 2017, WABC worked with Tencent‘s charitable ’99 Giving Day’ in a campaign to showcase the artwork of autistic children to a wider community. The ‘My Little Friend’s Gallery’ displayed the paintings via an H5 page on WeChat Moments.
WABC raises social media awareness on World Autism Awareness Day
Earlier this month, WABC released a video to mark World Autism Awareness Day. Narrated by an autistic child, the short video explores the world of autistic children and their desire to be understood and accepted by society. The child asks:
The video hit over 1 million views on Weibo with many netizens adding their comments:
“Care about autistic children, see a different beautiful world.”
“Let’s listen to these children’s voices.”
“Every child is different; we need to be more understanding.”Comments from netizens
Social media is an effective tool for charitable campaigns
Charitable campaigns on social media can be extremely effective in raising awareness about social issues among China’s 989 million internet users. WABC’s partnership with Tencent and its timely video for World Autism Awareness Day has helped improve understanding and acceptance of children with autism. By working with brands, charities can expand the audience of their campaigns and have a wider social impact.