Italy, Committed to Promoting Rights for Persons on the Autism Spectrum

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NEW YORK, APRIL 3 – In a meeting at the United Nations’ Secretariat Building in New York, Italy’s Vice Permanent Representative to the UN, Stefano Stefanile, stated that “Italy is strongly committed to the promotion of the rights of persons on the autism spectrum, and, more broadly, of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities.” Stefanile went on to add that the human rights approach to mental disabilities adopted in the 2016 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was put forward by Italy in 1986.

The Vice Representatives remarks were given at meeting celebrating International Autism Awareness Day (April 2), which saw the participation of representatives from the United States, Bangladesh, Belarus, India, Italy, Qatar, Oman, and South Korea and in collaboration with Autism Speaks.

In his remarks, the Vice Representative laid out how the Italian legislative process is expected to allocate resources, programs, and initiatives as they apply to civil society organizations, families, and persons affected by autism; and specifically to educational programs that focus on effective teaching with advanced technologies. “In Italy we have a very efficient network of civil society organizations engaged in promoting the rights of persons on the autism spectrum, some of which are well known also here at the UN,” said Stefanile, who gave the example of Teatro Patologico, “which is an association that puts on scene works from the ancient Greek tragedy and they have been here at the UN in 2017, it is also the case of ‘Progetto Filippide’, another Italian association which engages persons on the autism spectrum in a wide range of sports activities ” he said. In his presentation, the Vice Representative was adamant about how the belief that sharing unique lived experiences through programs focused on personality is it possible to reach the Agenda 2030 goal of leaving no one behind.

Teatro Patologico was founded by Dario D’Ambrosi in 1991 to bring together the commitment of professional actors and the talent of a chorus of disabled youth singing in ancient Greek. The initiatives reasoning is based on the fact that when “one of these youths is happy, other people become happy; their families, their neighbors, the community, the city, the country. Society as a whole becomes healthier and better,” said D’Ambrosi. Last year, Teatro Patologico visited the UN and performed its version of Medea of Euripides.

Progetto Fillippide is a deviation from Italian sport organizations and is officially recognized by Italy’s Paralympic Committee. The organization trains and prepares youths with autism for competitive sports. Every day, dozens of young adults with disabilities discover their identity as athletes, allowing them to relate to other athletes and soccer superstars alike. Founded in Rome, the initiative has various chapters across the country that have all tested and proved that physical education is a strong driver for social integration.