Autism Sunday, also known as the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger syndrome, is observed annually on the second Sunday of February.
Autism Sunday was first held in 2002 during Autism Awareness Year in the United Kingdom. It was initiated by parents and carers Ivan Corea and Charika Corea, founders of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK. Parents of Charin, a teenager with autism spectrum disorder and a communication disorder, they urged leaders of religious organisations, churches, community groups and world leaders around the globe to speak up for people with autism and Asperger syndrome. What started as a small acorn of an idea in their home has turned into a huge international event. Autism Sunday is now celebrated across the world in many countries.
The first service for autism was held in February 2002 at St Paul's Cathedral in London. Former Education Ministers, peers from the House of Lords, celebrities, writers, broadcasters, and the media joined children and people at St Paul's Cathedral to pray for children and adults with autism and Asperger syndrome, as well as their parents and caregivers.
In 2008, the first Early Day Motion on Autism Sunday was tabled in the House of Commons, in the Palace of Westminster. The motion, EDM 874, was sponsored by David Drew MP and signed by 71 members of Parliament. It calls on the Government to work with all faith communities in order to reach out to parents, caregivers and people with autism and Asperger syndrome in local communities; and urges church leaders and community groups of all denominations to engage with people with autism and Asperger syndrome. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron extended his personal support for Autism Sunday.