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.

02 September 2014

Family Support Group with Lita Ponce

The Autism Society Philippines held its monthly Family Support Group last Saturday, 23 August 2014 at the National Office. An FSG aims to support parents and family members of children with autism, helping them deal with their initial feelings about having children with autism and identifying their concerns and how they will cope with it.

Mrs. Lita Ponce, the facilitator of the FSG, was among the early members of ASP and had served as a Trustee. Lita shared her experiences in raising her son who is already 31 years old. She gave advice and encouragement in raising their children with autism. She taught them to have more patience in taking care of their children and understanding the needs of other members of the family, such as the spouse and children. She also believes that God has a purpose why he gifted us with children with this disabilities.

The participants shared their feelings and struggles in life. Most of them shared how they teach their children to adjust in any situations that they may face in the future. Both the husband and wife should help and support each other in dealing with their child. Some of the parents realize that their child with autism gives a different despite from his condition that their child with autism can still have a better future.

30 August 2014

Gio Danniel, the Before and After

National Family Week is celebrated the the United Kingdom from August 25-31 this year. The Filipino autism community is one in celebrating family life and encouraging families to spend more time together, highlighting the important role families play in society; and in raising of happy, well-adjusted children.

This KOEmposition is a KOEllaboration of KOEple JOE and DANG for the school yearbook of their eldest KOEboy GIO, then 7yo now 20. Mama Dang, ASP Chair Emeritus, has been serving the Filipino autism community for almost 20 years now. A much sought after speaker, she uses this KOEmposition as the KOEnceptual framework in sharing her family's journey and advocacy, updating it regularly as Gio reaches new milestones, and even after Papa Joe's passing.

28 August 2014

Team ASP discovers the new SM Exploreum

The SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Incorporated (SMLEI), through SM Cares, recently invited Autism Society Philippines to be among the first guests of the newly renovated Exploreum at the SM Mall of Asia. Eight new galleries which include 250 interactive exhibits will continue to show educational content through state-of-the art technologies. Exploreum is a place of total immersion that will stimulate curiosity and inspire interest in science. It’s guiding principle is to make science relevant in everyday life at the same time make learning fun and interactive for its patrons.

Exploreum had its soft opening and ASP had its first taste of the new Exploreum last 9 August 2014, bringing in a total of 50 CWAs with their parents. The CWA’s had a fun day exploring the whole center and taking curious walks through the new galleries. Below are the parents’ testimonials on their experience at Exploreum with their kids:

Monique Pinpin with son, Mico: “We enjoyed exploring the exhibit of helicopter models especially my son who is fond of looking at the spinning of its ‘elisi’ and the different wheels used for transportation. Thank to SM Exploreum for inviting us.”

Leyminda Maranon, with son Julliann: “He was happy and enjoyed the event. He immediately told his dad about his experience through phone call right after the event. He learned about what happens in day and night through the planetarium show. Most of all, he socialized well with other CWAs.”

Imelda Alviso, with son Paulo: “My kid enjoyed it especially the many trivias written. It’s very informative and SM Exploreum employees are very friendly and smiling. The facilities helped them in turn taking, waiting, focusing, and listening to different sounds.”

Annabelle Saman, with son Gerard John: “We really had fun and my son enjoyed the exhibit especially about the solar system, earth and volcano. And the gallery attendant was also impressed that he knew about how many planets we have and he named them in order. He also enjoyed the show from planetarium and he felt like travelling to the moon. Thanks a lot to SM Exploreum for this opportunity.”

Agripina Macaroy, with nephew Lance: “We really had a great time exploring the Exploreum. It was so amazing and very educational. My nephew really loves Exploreum, especially the vintage cars that’s why he wishes to go back there again.”

26 August 2014

Lights up Sounds down in Pampanga

Children with autism are known to be sensitive to a variety of sensory stimuli; and because of this, most of them cannot enjoy some leisure and relaxation activities typical individuals do. One good example is movie-watching, most children with autism cannot get inside a movie house; and therefore cannot join their families and enjoy a good movie together. The darkness of the room, the loud sound, the required quietness while watching and the prolonged sitting can contribute to sensory overload, which may lead to tantrums.

SM Cares through SM City Pampanga hosted a SFM event entitled “Lights up Sound down” exclusively for children with autism and other disability last 30 July 2014, Wednesday, 10 in the morning at SM City Pampanga Cinema 3. The activity aims to provide children with autism a movie watching experience on a big screen inside a cinema that have been adapted to their sensory sensitivities together with other audience who can understand the shouting/crying and/or running of these children inside the room.

The event was attended by a total of 108 children with special needs along with their parents and caregivers from the members of ASP CSFP and Hagonoy Chapters, DepEd ALS-PWD learners from the Division of San Fernando and San Simon, Adelle Grace Montessori, Crownvale School and San Fernando Elementary School students with autism, along with other CWA from other towns of Pampanga.

Many children with autism who came are “first timers” and their parents were quite nervous about how their children will react. But it was such a great feeling to see these children and their families enjoy a movie together.

“Thank you for yesterday’s activity. You made the children so happy. They really enjoyed. Congratulations!”- Melissa Sanchez, DepEd ALS Coordinator, Division of San Fernando.
“Thank you, it was so much fun! Di ko expect kaya pala naming tapusin yung movie” – Mommy Malou Maniago, mother of Ericka, 5 yrs old with autism.
“Success! We were all happy, akala naming “wonderland” lang kami mga mommies kasi di naming expect na magtatagal sila sa loob. Expect the worst, hope for the best! Yahoo! Another milestone for the kids.”- Mommy Eugie Corpuz, mother of Bianca, 7yrs old with autism.
“It was a very fun experience for a big number of special ones as it allowed them to watch a full length movie wherein they can be themselves without excuse. They can stim out loud minus the comments. And they can easily walk away at scenes they don’t want to see without the odd reactions from the other viewers. But above it all, such a relief for all parents, guardians, family members, teachers who accompanied each kid as they also enjoyed the movie with emotional easiness.” -Mommy Wham Liang, mother of Josh, 5 yrs old with autism.

The Autism Society Philippines City of San Fernando Pampanga Chapter, with all the children with special needs and their families extend our warmest gratitude to SM Cares, through SM City Pampanga Management headed by Mr. Junias Eusebio and Anna Lisa Carino.

About the contributor. Joy Ofrecia is a mother of a teenage boy with autism. She has been a hands-on mother and for more than 10 years, has been implementing home intervention programs along with other school/center-based interventions for her own son and other children with autism. She has earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Angeles University Foundation. She conducts orientations and trainings to parents and professionals on autism. She is the current president of the Autism Society Philippines City of San Fernando Chapter. Teacher Joy finds her fulfilment in her role as an advocate of autism and an instrument to empowering parents of children with special needs.

23 August 2014

ASP hosts back to back seminars

The Autism Society Philippines hosted a back to back seminar on “The Miller Method Autism Intervention Program: Possibilities Put Into Practice” and “All You Need To Know About Autism” last 2 August 2014 at the Auditorium of Philippine Information Agency, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, attended by 53 participants composed of parents and professionals. The whole day event which featured two distinguished speakers.

The morning session on the Miller Method Autism Intervention Program was facilitated by Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo, an Assistant Professor from Lake University Orillia in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Mastrangelo emphasized that there is no single method of intervention for persons with autism. Dr. Mastrangelo utilized videos to explain the approach -- one of Dr. Arnold Miller applying the method to a child with autism was among them. She also had some interactive activities for the participants -- a movement exercise which simulated how a child with autism spectrum disorder perceived things. The exercise made participants feel how persons with autism may experience their environment; and simulating internal blocks which keep them from doing an action. Learning by experience and gross motor activities such as lifting and spinning are important parts of this approach. Dr. Mastrangelo the use of an Elevated Square, an elevated platform on which the therapy is conducted. Another key feature of the Miller method was having the parents be constantly involved. Dr. Mastrangelo mentioned that the parents are the first teachers of children. She said that a multidisciplinary team is important for the development of the child and in this team, the role of the family is very important. She recognized that therapists may come and go; but the family remains constant in the lives of children with autism.

Dr. Rita Grace R. Villadolid, a respected developmental pediatrician, discussed the history of autism, the development stages of typical children, the proper diagnostic process, and treatment programs. She mentioned that there is still no significant cause identified for autism, with genetic or environmental causes still inconclusive. Dr. Villadolid highlighted the main challenges that persons with autism experience which are in social interaction, communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. She shared early signs of autism in infants and that these development concerns usually come at 14 to 15 months after the birth of the child. She clarified some notions regarding autism, updating the audience on the official terms that are being used today by professionals. She also shared information regarding the population of persons of autism which was rising in number. Dr. Villadolid discussed different interventions -- medical, non-medical, or complimentary methods. Dr. Villadolid highlighted the significant role of an "A"-team -- doctors, therapists, teachers, family, and other important people who were part of the development of the child with autism.

Participants shared their thoughts about the seminar.

"We learned so much. The seminar has good value for money."

"There should be more of this type of seminar from Dr. Mastrangelo and about Miller Method."

"The Miller Method is an interesting topic -- how you communicate with a child with autism, their expressive language and problem solving. There's a lot of teaching strategies we approach with our students and this is very hopeful."

"Keep up the good work. Congratulations! For bringing the awareness to us as parents looking forward on your next seminar."

"The speaker was very knowledgeable about the topic."

"Very educational and enriching."

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