The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons with autism spectrum disorder. The ASP has been in the forefront of providing services and training to families living with autism.

09 October 2014

“Pursuer of Dreams” Workshop held in Imus

ASP-Imus held a watercolor workshop entitled Pursuer of Dreams last September 27, 2014 at the activity center of Robinson's Place in Imus, Cavite. It was attended by 10 CWAs, 7-15 years of age, and their siblings. Most of them came from the Imus Public Sped Centers.

A kind-hearted individual who also has a brother in the Autism Spectrum provided the art materials and snacks for this event. It is one of her dreams to organize a watercolor workshop for CWAs to help them and their siblings express themselves through painting and thereby create a bond between them.

The parents of the participants are very thankful for this opportunity given to their children. They are very proud of their kids for their achievements in that activity.

08 October 2014

The CBR Congress in the eyes of an ASP Leader

The three-day CBR Congress held on September 30 to October 2 of this year was very much anticipated on my part -- first because of the opportunities it brings in renewing and establishing networks with other advocates and volunteers working with the disability sector; and second, it is the best venue to fully comprehend what Community Based Rehabilitation is all about.

On Day 1, we heard Ms Carmen Zubiaga, the acting Executive Director of the National Council on Disability Affairs, welcoming the more than 300 participants from all over the country to the Second Philippine CBR Congress, whose theme is “CBR: Key to inclusive development in communities”. Proclamation 688 declared the Philippine Decade of Making Rights Real for PWDs – and the NCDA has led the formulation of the Decade Plan of Action in coordination with the national government agencies, the NGOs, and the DPOs.

The speakers emphasized the importance of CBR, which is also one of our legislative agenda in ASP. Clearly CBR is the practical strategy towards empowerment and inclusive development, where all people and every member of the community is respectful of the rights of our PWDs.

According to the World Health Organization, community-based rehabilitation (CBR) focuses on enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families; meeting basic needs; and ensuring inclusion and participation. It is a multi-sectoral strategy that empowers persons with disabilities to access and benefit from education, employment, health and social services. CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families and communities, and relevant government and non-government health, education, vocational, social and other services.

  • Relies on community resources
  • Emphasizes direct participation of PWD in planning and implementation of actions affecting them
  • Highlights the needs for increased collaboration of service providers and involvement of the local politicians
  • Promotes identification and referral of people with disability to improve their access to services and participation
  • Aims to promote greater participation of PWD in a given territory
  • Originated from local development rather than rehabilitation
  • Embedded in decentralization system and pays particular importance to the processes of good local governance and inclusive community management

From the keynote message of the Undersecretary of DSWD Ms. Patricia Paraji: the bottomline is to guarantee equitability; the rights of one apply to all, opportunities given to one is enjoyed by all. CBR is inclusive development and while numerous challenges lay ahead, we must work together to ensure inclusivity, where everyone is accepted. Each one has a role to play and a hand to make it work. The CBR Framework is a life changing structure for the growth and development of every member of the community and we must all contribute to its development.

The World Disability Report states that people with disabilities are marginalized in many aspects of societies.
  • They have generally poorer health, lower education achievement, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disability.
  • They are more likely to experience greater social isolation and decreased participation in community life.
  • They must overcome greater barriers to access services in low income countries.

The global situation now is that 15% of the world population experience disability which is approximately 1 in 7 people. An empowered sector is the foundation of any CBR program. It is implemented through combined efforts of PWDs, their families, their communities, the different organizations and relevant government agencies on health, education, social and livelihood services.

CBR as a strategy must be focused in enhancing the quality of life of PWDs and their families; it is about meeting the basic needs and ensuring inclusion in local communities and improving access to services. With CBR, the PWDs and their family members are leaders in decision making processes. This brings about change in culture and practices, removing the stigma and prejudices that would lead to a deeper understanding of how disability can affect human lives. If it does not empower, it is not CBR.

The last day of the congress was for the election and formation of the CBR Network AdHoc Committee – 13 members for the Interim Board who will work for the immediate future direction of the Philippine Community Based Disability Inclusive Development Network. Coming from the different DPOs and organizations to represent the different regions of our country, one of our very own – Ms Marivic Ramos of ASP Laguna Chapter was elected Board Member as the parent representative of Luzon; the other parent being Ms. Marjorie Gimeno of Parent Mobilization Action Group (PMAG) for the Visayas / Mindanao area.

The decade for the rights-based, barrier-free, inclusive society started in 2013 will end on 2022 - and the ASP has always been in the forefront and steadfast in advocating for the basic principle of equality for the autism community….. as the song goes – We are on the right track.

About the contributor. Dr. Anawi A. Tolentino is the Chapter President of ASP Hagonoy, a practicing physician in the field of internal medicine and a hands on Mom to her 18-year old son – Jandell. She is also the administrator of the Supportive Parents of Hagonoy Children with Disability (SPHC) Center whose programs are centered on parent empowerment and providing learning opportunities for CWD.

07 October 2014

ASP hosts a Relationship Direct Intervention Seminar

The Autism Society Philippines was fortunate to host an RDI seminar last 27 September 2014, with Ms. Renee Dela Cruz. Renee is an autism specialist with 15 years experience, based in Melbourne, Australia. She has a psychology background, is completing a masters/PHD in Autism Studies and is a certified RDI consultant. Renee is skilled in functional behaviour analysis; modification, psychological assessments; diagnosis, and delivering intervention services designed to enhance functioning and quality of life. She assists families to move from diagnosis to active remediation, implementing intervention plans that are tailored to the child's and family’s needs. She guides families to break down complex behaviours, work through anger/anxiety issues, discover opportunities to reestablish developmental milestones and guides parents to develop their child's thinking skills.

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) is a family-based, behavioral treatment designed to address autism’s core symptoms. Developed by psychologist Steven Gutstein, Ph.D., it builds on the theory that “dynamic intelligence” is key to improving quality of life for individuals with autism. Dr. Gutstein defines dynamic intelligence as the ability to think flexibly. This includes appreciating different perspectives, coping with change and integrating information from multiple sources, e.g. sights and sounds. (Autism Speaks)

Renee discussed how RDI is all about connecting, thinking and growing. The approach teaches children how to be connected with their parents, whether they are verbal or not. She spoke about teaching and behavior modification techniques, as well as many ways to communicate with someone with autism.

I learned that parents play a big role in making people with autism kind, gentle, and warm hearted.

About the contributor. Lloyd Ngo was first an ASP intern when he attended Independent Living and Learning Center. He began working in 2012 as an encoder at the Ongkiko Manhit Custodio and Acorda Law Offices in Makati. He is currently ASP’s Program Assistant for Communications.

06 October 2014

The Sibling Factor

ASP Sta. Rosa had a simple yet fun time with some of the siblings of its members last 14 September 2014 at the Erolin residence at Tagapo, Sta. Rosa which is currently the registered office address of ASP Sta. Rosa.

The activity aimed to help the siblings understand their brother or sister with autism and try activities like shooting rings, following patterns and matching pictures with words that they can play with their siblings. We had story telling and we used the book "Spinning" written by Teacher Irene Sarmiento, written from the perspective of a sibling. Everyone enjoyed the simple but sumptuous merienda and the siblings were given prizes for their participation. This was a way for them to also learn how reward system can make their brother or sister with autism get motivated.

About the Contributor. Olive Medina is mom to CWA Enzo and his baby sister Lizzie. Aside from fulfilling her duties as a wife and mother, she works as General Manager for a logistics company, a part time college lecturer and part time yoga instructor. She is also the president of ASP Sta. Rosa Chapter.

05 October 2014

Disability Inclusive Workplace

Mrs. Carmel C. Almendrala, Trustee of Autism Society Philippines, was a resource speaker in the July 18, 2014 Quezon City PDAO “Public-Private Consultation Forum on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities.” Mrs. Almendrala spoke on the “Employment Situation for Persons with Autism.” The forum was held at the Bulwagang Amoranto of Quezon City Hall main building.

There were various other speakers from DepEd, DSWD, DOLE, Blue Ribbon Committee of the Philippine Senate, JOB START, Manulife and other disability NGO’s who presented their particular work related to PWDs.

Mrs. Almendrala discussed individual employment of various persons with autism in competitive setting, as well as group employment in different companies plus future possibilities for employment of PWAs.

About the contributor. Carmel C. Almendrala, a former ambassador’s wife and an Ulirang Ina Awardee of 2010, Carmel personifies diplomacy as she faces the world with poise, grace and intelligence. Over the years and in the many countries where their family has had to relocate because of her husband's work, she laboured tirelessly to advocate for her son Michael, now in his 40’s. Serving as Trustee for more than six terms, she reminds young mothers of children with autism: Grab every opportunity and don’t take no for an answer. This is evident in her son Mike, who is a Special Olympian Medalist (who competed in 2005 in powerlifting and in 2013 in bowling), a 2005 Apolinario Mabini Awardee, and an independent member of the community working as an administrative staff of the Philippine Information Agency.

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