World Autism Day is 2 April, and Princess Marie, as Patron of the Danish Association for Autism, took part in the day’s events through a video message.
The Danish Association for Autism held a conference for autistic people about self-understanding, anxiety and “a better life” but Princess Marie couldn’t attend as she was in Tonder with Prince Joachim to present the Wegner Prize. That is why she recorded a short video message that was shown during the conference. In this message, she says: “World Autism Awareness Day is one day of the year, therefore, it is important that we spend the day deciding how we will handle the 364 other days. Only by accepting, acknowledging, understanding and most importantly, making space for everyone can we create a world for all. A place where each one is seen and received with acceptance and a world where no one loses, simply because everyone is winners.”
Princess Marie’s focus on acceptance of people with autism is linked to an online campaign launched by the Danish Association for Autism for World Autism Day called ‘Autism Acceptance – There is plenty of things to fight for’.
On their Facebook account, they released one fact about autism in Denmark to raise awareness and to show that there still plenty of things to fight for as there is still a lot of discrimination against autistic people in the country. For example, according to the Association, in 2018, resident staff were entitled to use power against a resident who does not want to brush teeth or take baths.
They also say that 40% of children with autism experience their schooling negatively, 35% of all children with autism do not go to school and 17% of parents of children with autism experience their child being bullied in school. They also showed that it was not only the institutions such as schools that were not accepting children with autism but also with other people, as 40% of parents of a child with autism feel ill-treated or even misunderstood or violated when meeting with other people.
Princess Marie has been Patron of the Danish Association for Autism since November 2011. She is very involved in this patronage, a cause close to her heart, as one of her nephews has autism.