Autism Sunday, the International Day of Prayer for Autism and Asperger's Syndrome falls on Sunday 8th February this year.
Churches and religious organisations across the world have been urged to pray for over 60 million people with autism and Asperger's Syndrome.
In the UK over 500,000 people are on the autism spectrum. According to UK researchers 1 in 100 children is on the autism spectrum.
Autism is now one of the most serious education and health issues facing many nations particularly in Africa and Asia. Many struggle without public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care.
World leaders including President elect Barack Obama have been urged to speak out on Autism Sunday. It widely expected that he will give autism a much higher priority than his predecessor when he reaches the White House.
Autism Sunday was launched in 2002 Autism Awareness Year in the United Kingdom by parents and carers Ivan and Charika Corea. The inspiration behind the autism campaign is their son Charin, now 12 years of age who has autism spectrum disorder and a communication disorder.
History was created when the first ever service for Autism Sunday was held at St.Paul's Cathedral in London in 2002 covered by British television. Many parents, carers, children and adults with autism and Asperger's Syndrome attended the moving service.
Ivan Corea, co-founder of Autism Sunday said: "Many more families are below the poverty line - the credit crunch and the global recession has devastated families. Many have to decide between heathing and eating and are suffering from winter fuel poverty. If the recession deepens in 2009 the vulnerable will need more financial help and we have appealed to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alistair Darling to reach out to families with autism and give them more support and help.
"The suffering is very real. Homes of families with autism are being re-possessed by banks, there have been instances where children with autism have been thrown onto the streets. This is immoral. The re-possessions of families with autism must stop and the Government needs to hold banks - now part owned by the tax payer- accountable for their actions. Faith communities have a role to play in helping the vulnerable and we urge them to reach out to the poor."
Parliamentarians are also expected to support Autism Sunday. They will be calling on the Prime Minister Gordon Brown to help during the economic downturn.