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.

15 January 2018

Autism heroes congregate for Angels Walk for Autism

The Angels Walk for Autism, spearheaded by the Autism Society of the Philippines in partnership with SM Cares, kicked off the National Autism Consciousness Week at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City last 14 January 14, Sunday, with the gates opening as early as 6:30am. Other partners include MOA Arena, SM Mall of Asia, National Council on Disability Affairs, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability and the ASEAN Autism Network.

“The Angels Walk for Autism has become a major event that attracts national and international advocates,” according to Mona Magno-Veluz, ASP’s National President. “We are lucky to have 24,000 registered participants this year -- the biggest in our history! Angel Walks are also happening in Baguio, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Lucena, Roxas, Tacloban, and Tagbilaran all throughout January.” Among the esteemed guests were Hon. Urawadee Sriphiromya, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Royal Thai Embassy, Former Ambassador Piroon Laismit, Executive Director of Asia-Pacific Center on Disability, Acting Executive Director of the National Council on Disability Affairs Carmen Zubiaga and Michelle Aventajado Best Buddies Philippines Country Manager.

The event celebrates the "autism heroes" -- government, business, developmental pediatricians, therapists and teachers -- who work tirelessly for the inclusion of persons with autism in society. This year’s theme, “From Awareness to Acceptance, Accommodation and Appreciation,” affirms our position that disability inclusion should not be limited to “consciousness” but must translate to visible, deliberate, policy-driven action.

The traditional Angels Walk for Autism community shot (Image: SM Cares) 

The AOK-Talent Showcase kicked off at 8:00am with performances by the Mandaluyong CWD Drums and Lyre Band, Keith Ignacio, the ILLC Hearthrobs and Hunks, Tricia Cardino, Judith Rae and Red Avendano, Nunu Supaanong, Pauline Grace dela Cruz, Chaelda del Carmen and Cid Tampo. Charlene Danica Escasinas who received international recognition at the Autistic Talent Gala in HongKong was awarded the ASP Autism Angel Achievement Award (A5) by Senator Risa Hontiveros and ASP President Mona Magno-Veluz.

The new ASP program called HOMEpowerment was introduced by ASP President Mona Magno-Veluz. This free therapy program for young children with autism from indigent families, coupled with parent training, was made possible through a grant from Kiehl's Philippines, represented by Ms. Shar Le Chua, General Manager of LÓreal's Luxury Division and Ms. Candy Pangilinan, comedianne and autism mom, who lent her voice to the fund-raising efforts.

The Mixxed Fit Warm-Up was led by Donna and Desly Lim and a crew of superheroes which included Wowie de Guzman as Captain America.

The Program Proper kicked off with a prayer from the students of GS Options House. Young boys on the spectrum shared a simple yet innocently honest prayer for our community and sang a fun rendition of "Jesus is my Superhero". The Philippine National Anthem was accompanied by community shots of Angels Walk for Autism from past years. The TRC x Kid Lightning Crew, Medalists of 2017 World Supremacy Battlegrounds, wowed us all with a chest-thumping opening salvo.

ASP Chair Emeritus and current Chair of the ASEAN Autism Network Dang Koe commanded the stage as she made a grand entrance in a Wonder Woman costume. She joked about the lengths she would go for the autism advocacy!

The Autism Society Philippines chose to honor Autism Angels and Heroes who have made life better for persons and families who live with autism, with specially rendered videos and custom-forged medals.

From the business sector, Mr. Hans Sy (SM Prime), Ms. Annie Garcia (President, SM Supermalls) and Mr. Steven Tan (COO, SM Supermalls) received medals in behalf of businesses creating autism-friendly experiences. SM Supermalls, through it groundnbreaking SM Cares program, pioneered PWD sensitivity training as an operational requisite for all their malls. Each mall conducts PWD sensitivity training twice a year, as part of their annual objectives. The company has set the bar for PWD-friendly public spaces and projects in the Philippine retail industry.

L-R: Cecile Sicam, Gio Koe, Annie Garcia, Hans Sy, Carl Veluz, Steven Tan, Mona Veluz (Image: SM Cares)

From the government sector, Senator Risa Hontiveros and Representative Tom Villarin received medals in behalf of public servants who create policies, protocols and programs for the growing population of PWAs in the Philippines. Senator Hontiveros was the primary sponsor behind the Mental Health Act of 2017; while Representative Villarin recently filed HB 6934 or the National Autism Care Plan Bill which defines the roadmap for genuine inclusion of persons with autism in society.

Developmental pediatricians -- Dr. Mimi Avendano, Dr. Rochelle Pacifico (President, Philippine Society of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics) and Dr. Alexis Reyes -- received medals on behalf of the 51 other specialists in their field, currently practising in the Philippines. They possess training and experience to consider the medical and psychosocial aspects of children's and adolescents' developmental and behavioral problems; and are important partners to families in the long-term care of their family member with autism.

Speech Pathologists -- Teacher Ely Bautista (President, Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists), Teacher Mae Sadicon and Teacher Weng Ynion -- received medals in behalf of the 300 or so practicing speech therapists in the Philippines. With communication as a key challenge in persons on the spectrum, speech pathologists with legitimate training help PWA develop expressive and receptive language, which can open doors to learning and socialization.

L-R: Mona Veluz, Ely Bautista, Weng Ynion, Ken Cheng, Mae Sadicon, Helen Cheng (Image: SM Cares)
Occupational Therapists -- Teacher Achie Gozon (Past President, Philippine Academy of Occupational Therapists) and Teacher Karla Tolentino -- received medals on behalf of the approximately 600 licensed occupational therapists in the Philippines, who chose to build their practice around developmental disabilities. It takes special dedication to promote, maintain, and develop the skills needed by persons on the spectrum to be functional in a school setting and beyond. They help families build learning skills, self-esteem, self-confidence, independence, and social interaction in our family members with autism.

Special Education Teachers -- Teacher Arnold Alegre (Hopewell School), Teacher Landa Bautista-Abundo (The Learning Center), Teacher Archie David (Independent Living Learning Center), Teacher Bunny Joaquin (SHINE Intervention Center) -- received medals on behalf of the special education teachers who have the daunting task of working with students who may have learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They are masters in instructional and behavioral accommodation, ensuring inclusion for all learners with special needs.

The awarding of medals were punctuated by performances from Thara Marie Santiago and Charlene Danica Escasinas -- both A5 awardees.

The ASP Autism Works Partner of the Year was awarded for the first time this year. The honor went to SM Markets who was represented by Mr. Jose Mari Mendoza (President, SM Supermarkets), Mr. Jojo Tagbo (President, SM Savemore) and Ms. Dorothy Sobrevega (AVP - HR, SM Food Group) for the "AutiSM at Work" program. The first meeting was held in September 2015 and it took almost a year for the company to launch the pilot in July 2016. Since then, the leading supermarket chain has filled 28 positions with workers with autism in Cebu, Iloilo, Mandaluyong, Quezon City and Taguig. A 100 percent growth is expected in 2018 -- including new stores in NCR, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and Laguna.

L-R: Mona Veluz, Mico Ramos, Jojo Tagbo, Marivic Ramos, Joey Mendoza, Carmel Almendrala, Dorothy Sobrevega, Mike Almendrala (Image: SM Cares)

Ms. Dang called for the showing of appreciation for our loved ones who have been our heroes in our helping our children with autism live better lives. Our community of family members, yayas, teachers, therapists, doctors, and advocates were joined in one glorious virtual hug!

Ms. Mona took to the stage to give the last word. She stressed the need to come together in support of the National Autism Care Plan and in showing society the unified strength of the "mighty magulang, awesome advocates and power PWAs" of ASP. She then called for the official start of the walk.

Mr. Hans Sy, Ms. Dang Koe and Ms. Mona Magno-Veluz lead the vanguard with PWAs and honored guests among them.
Kicking off from the MOA Arena, participants made their way to the MOA Music Hall. The finish line became a place to take souvenir shots and chat with fellow advocates before naturally dispersing into the mall in small groups. Ms. Dang awarded June Andre Del Monte aka Angel Warrior and Reyn Vincent Cuento aka Super Angel as winners of the Autism Hero Costume Contest. They split the purse and went home with P5,000 each.

The Autism Society Philippines thanks you all for making the Angels Walk for Autism the super success that is was.  Let's continue to build and Autism-OK Philippines! Until next year!

01 January 2018

Gear up for the Angels Walk for Autism 2018!

This year’s Angels Walk for Autism is celebrating the contributions of the many angels and heroes who make life better for families who live and love with autism!

What better way to get into the spirit of the walk than by dressing up as your very own original hero! Gear up with your family, schools and barkadas! Have fun with the concept — be inspired; but be original!

You can also join the “Autism Hero Costume Contest”! Using an Angels Walk shirt (from any year), dress yourself as an all ORIGINAL hero (no Marvel, DC derivatives please) and post a photo on your Facebook or Instagram timeline, with your superhero name and the hashtags #angelswalk2018 #autismhero. Don’t forget to tag ASP! The contest is open to all — young and old, individuals or groups. Deadline for entries is on 12 January 2018, Friday at 5pm. One winner be announced on 13 January 2018, Saturday and must be present at the Angels Walk for Autism finish line at the MOA Arena Music Hall to bring home the P10,000 cash prize!

What else can we do to celebrate the heroes in our lives? Prepare small tokens or letters for teachers, therapists, doctors, friends and family who have been everyday heroes to our loved ones with autism. At a specific point in the Angels Walk program, we will ask everyone to express their love for these amazing people with a thoughtful gesture. Let’s do this!

The Philippines is a more inclusive place because autism heroes inspire acceptance, accommodation and appreciation of individuals with autism. Thank you, Autism Heroes!

Gio is AU-SOME MAN! #angelswalk2018 #autismhero

01 December 2017

Q&A with Autism Experts - December 2017

"It takes a village to raise a child." This African proverb rings louder for children with autism. The Autism Society Philippines believes that parents should build relationships with a professional compassionate support team who can advise and counsel them, in addressing the myriad of questions they have about raising a child on the spectrum.

"If you have met someone with autism, you have met ONE person with autism." There is no substitute for personal consultations with professionals, which consider traits and behaviors unique to the individual with autism.

As ASP continues to receive questions from parents and family members year-round, we have reached out to the following experts to help answer some concerns on health, education and intervention.

Q. My niece has autism and its severe. She is now 14 yo and is very very violent. She will hit her head, face, arms and legs with her fists or bang her head on the walls of the house. If you will try to intervene , she will chase and hit you instead. She will just stop if the swelling and pain is unbearable. After recovering she will again hit herself again and again. Shes under medication but effective only for a few months and then back to her old self again.I would like to ask if theres a home which can help us take care of her temporarily because we can't do anything to prevent her from hurting herself. She might have problem with her vision or worst brain hemorrhage in the future if this will continue.--- C. Ong

A. This must be very stressful for the family. Aside from medications, it might be helpful to investigate possible medical causes of the aggression like ear infections, GI symptoms pointing to a gastrointestinal pathology, headache and seizures to name a few possible causes. Medications should be given continuously and not removed when symptoms abate. Some individuals will need to be hospitalized to address acute aggression. There are private centers that are willing to take in individuals with ASD. --- Dr. Tippy Tanchanco

A. Guanella Center in Tandang Sora is the only place I know which may be willing to take your niece in for respite care. However, it will be most useful to furnish them with information e.g. what triggers the self inflicting behaviors (SIBs), medication she is given, why medications have been stopped, what recommendations her devped has given.

There are also gentle restraints which can be used to restrain her when she has her SIBs. I know how strenuous and dangerous it is to physically restrain one who is having a meltdown but these restraints can keep you niece and the people around her safe. (see attached) You can improvise one using a spine board (available in medical supply stores) and wide velcro straps. --- Cecilia Sicam

Q. My 4 yr old child with ASD is very picky with food? He only likes rice and fried crunchy food. He doesnt like vegetables and moist food nowadays, even when he loved these kinds of food several months ago. Is this normal? How can we teach him to eat other foods?--- L. Nievera

A. There may be several reasons on why children are picky. Initially, we need to rule out medical conditions including iron and zinc deficiency. Picky eating may be secondary to sensory processing difficultites, making children prefer certain tastes and textures. Another reason is the behavioral preference of children for certain foods. It is recommended that picky eating be addressed to ensure that the child has a healthy diet. We need to treat food like medicine. We need to be able to feed children a healthy, balanced diet. This can be managed by feeding therapists who are usually OTs or speech therapists locally. Depending on the reason of food selectivity, they can craft an intervention plan for the child. An example of a good resource online is: ---  Dr. Tippy Tanchanco

A. Most PWAs  have sensory processing difficulties which make them sensitive to or seeking of certain textures, tastes, sounds, etc. There are several strategies which can be tried, whatever works:

1. slowly introduce different textures by offering small balls of crunchy food with soft or firm centers. As the child gets used to this and eats it without fuss, make the soft centers slightly bigger in the next round. Continue increasing the soft center as he tolerates it.

2. you can also try reinforcing your child's tolerance for non-crunchy food. Show a very small piece of non-crunchy food (a grain or two of steamed rice, perhaps) and his favorite crunchy food. Make it clear that he will be given the crunchy food only if he will taste and swallow the non-crunchy food. Repeat as often as possible. It should be noted that his access to crunchy food should be limited throughout the training period and he can only eat it if he takes in a bit of non-crunchy food. For some, this may take some time and commitment from his caregivers. As his tolerance for non-crunchy food increases, size of non-crunchy food can also be increased. Later, non-crunchy and crunchy foods can be mixed.

You can also consult your child's OT regarding this. --- Cecilia Sicam

Q. My 27 year old autistic brother has become more aggressive over the years, inflicting self harm whenever he throws tantrums. What can we do? We can't bring him out of the house for consultation.--- L. Jacob

A. A proper work-up would need to be done. Doctors hesitate to recommend medications for the aggression without evaluating the patient, however, in some instances, for compassionate care, parents may have surrogate consults with doctors who can prescribe medications to address the aggression. Home-based assessment and interventions by behavioral therapists may also be helpful. --- Dr. Tippy Tanchanco

Dr. Lourdes Bernadette “Tippy” Sumpaico-Tanchanco, MD, MSc, FPPS, FPSDBP is the clinic director and practicing developmental-behavioral pediatrician at MedMom Child Development Clinic. She is also an Associate Professor at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. She graduated from the Ateneo de Manila, BS Biology program. She then proceeded to study Medicine at the UERMMMC where she graduated with honors. She took her residency and fellowship in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at the UP-PGH and completed her Master of Science in Epidemiology (Clinical Epidemiology) at the UP-Manila. She has also been invited to numerous conferences, both locally and internationally, to present her research studies and to speak as an expert in her field. Dr. Tippy is certified in using the Griffith’s Mental Development Scale and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. She was recently certified as a Basic DIRFloortime practitioner after completing her training with the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning.

Ms. Cecilia Sicam is one of the 11 original founders of the Autism Society Philippines. She has served ASP in many capacities, as President from 2000 to 2004; and as its current Vice President. Inspired by her PWA son Likas, Ces has been instrumental in the founding of Professionals for Autism Foundation, Inc., Center for Autism and Related Disorders, the Philippine Association for Behavioral Analysis, and Bridges Foundation where she is currently its Directress. She taught SpEd for three years Santa Clara, California; and came back to serve Filipino children with special needs.

09 November 2017

Seminar on Preparing for Employment

So What’s Next: Preparing for Employment
9AM to 12NN

Even before adolescents with disabilities are ready to sample different work experiences in the community, there are opportunities for them to get some work experience right in their own school buildings. This is an important first step in understanding the adolescent’s strengths and challenges within different types of work. Strengths can be built upon and challenges minimized before work experiences in the community begin. Know this and more with this training.

Click the link to register:

The Employee With Autism
1PM to 4PM

Much of the research and documentation of autism revolves around diagnosing children and autism's impact on the tasks of childhood. This time, IDEA Team explores aspects of Autism that are significant for adults and how they relate to employment.

Click the link to register:


Kathleen Therese Ascue, OTRP
After graduating in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Santo Tomas and earning her PRC license on the same year, Teacher Kat has worked in Philippine Cerebral Palsy Inc., a non-government organization that serves Persons with Disability across Metro Manila and Visayas.

Throughout her 3 years of practice as an OT, she has coordinated several events and seminars outside Metro Manila to promote awareness about intervention and inclusion of children with neurodevelopmental and neurologic conditions in schools and communities.

Under PCPI, she also serves as a clinical supervisor for Occupational Therapy interns from a number of schools in Luzon and Visayas. In her hometown of Antipolo City, she is an OT consultant working pediatric and adolescent clients at Milestones Therapy Center. She is also one of the certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapists here in the Philippines by CBT Australia.

Krystel Dianne D. Tolentino
After taking MA SPED units from UP Diliman, and practicing as a SPED Consultant in the Philippines, the founder of IDEA went on and honed her craft in assessment, prevocational and vocational training under Autism Association of Singapore - Eden School in Singapore.

She is the former project consultant of Project Inclusion, supporting more than 100 PWDs to have access to work. Now, together with the IDEA team, she works with companies and organizations in making inclusive workplaces in the Philippines possible through supported employment, transition planning and job coaching.

Krystel holds a Certificate in Autism from Autism Resource Center Singapore, and a Certificate in Job Coaching from University of North Texas - Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment Program. She is also a Life Coach of Organizational Change Consultants International (OCCI) Center for Learning.

31 October 2017

The 2018 Angels Walk for Autism Icon Shirt

The Autism Society Philippines has released the new Angels Walk for Autism Shirt design, in preparation for the Angels Walk for Autism 2018 on 14 January 2018 at the MOA Arena. Since 2007, the shirt design has evolved from being a promotional shirt to being a valued collector's item. Individuals with autism and their families wear the Angels Walk shirts all year round, inspiring inclusion without need for words.

The 2018 Angels Walk icon shirt was inspired by the popular basketball fan wingspan shirt. The shirts come in fern green and has one price, regardless of size.

You can avail of the limited edition 2018 Angels Walk Shirt in three ways.
1. Buy for cash. P170 for ASP Member and P220 for Non Member at the ASP National Headquarters in 11th Jamboree, Quezon City (
2. Order on-line. This can be pick-up at the ASP National Headquarters or have shipped to your home.
3. Buy for cash at the SM MOA Arena at the day itself of the Angels Walk for Autism for P250. We will not accept RESERVATIONS.

XL12 - 31" - 20.5"
T - 33" - 23"
XS - 35" - 24"
S - 37" - 25.5"
M - 39" - 27"
L - 41" - 27.5"
XL - 43" - 28"
XXL - 45" - 28.5"

--- No return, No exchange (except for damaged tshirt, with the same tshirt size only)
---Cut-off of shipping is every Wednesday, 11am. After cut-off your orders will be shipped on the following week. Last day of shipping request will be on 03 January 2018, Wednesday, 11am.
--- Please pay in exact amount to avoid delay in your order.
--- Tshirts purchased online can only be picked up at the ASP National Headquarters in 11th Jamboree, Quezon City ( upon FULL PAYMENT. THESE CANNOT BE PICKED UP AT THE SM MOA ARENA.
--- Last day of selling the tshirts at ASP National Headquarters will be on 10 January 2018 for pick up only.

For questions and inquiries, please call us at +632 903-5496.

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