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.

14 August 2015

Seminar on Relationship Development Intervention slated for August 29

What is RDI?
Often described as “the missing piece of the puzzle” in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) is a cognitive-developmental treatment program that teaches parents how to guide their child to seek out and succeed in truly reciprocal relationships, while addressing key core issues of autism such as motivation, communication, emotional regulation, episodic memory, rapid attentionshifting,self- awareness, appraisal, executive functioning, flexible thinking and creative problem solving.

RDI is a significant departure from traditional ASD interventions, and does not simply seek to mask the child’s condition with scripted conversations or rehearsed behaviors, but actually makes neuro-cognitive changes over time that provide the child with the skills needed to navigate life’s challenges on their own. By developing a child’s capacity for dynamic thinking we open the door to the possibility of a greater quality of life, one that includes:
  • Reciprocal communication
  • Genuine friendships
  • Confident, independent living
  • Prolonged relationships
  • Meaningful employment
(words taken from Maisie Soetantyo of CATCH Clinic, RDI Director of Professional Training for South East Asia)

About the Speaker:

Stephanie Lopez-Sy, Director of MindFrames Integrated Learning Center is a certified Early Childhood Special Education Interventionist at The Santa Clara County Office of Education in San Jose and Milpitas, California. She graduated with a Masters Degree in Special Education from the University of the Philippines and pioneered the formal study of the principles of “behaviour” and “behaviourism” among children and dogs in her work, “Dog-Assisted Therapy Among Children with AD/HD and Autism” in the Philippines. Teacher Steff is also a P.E.C.S., T.E.A.C.C.H, and A.B.A. practitioner who advocates on empowering parents and their families through parent seminar and trainings for the various approaches on the education of children with special needs especially of those with moderate to severe disabilities. Teacher Steff believes that the best therapist and intervention begins at home. She is now currently the first and only Certified RDI Consultant candidate in the Philippines and is hoping to share more of RDI to parents and future consultants in the country to make a brand new hope to families of children and adults ASD.

Seminar Fees
Pre-reg *until August 25                        On-site Registration
ASP Member - P400                              ASP Member - P500
Non-member - P600                              Non-member - P700

Seminar Details

Topic: Relationship Development Intervention
Date: 29 August 2015, Saturday
Time: 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Venue: ASP National Headquarters, #9 11th Jamboree Street cor. Sct. Fuentebella, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Pre-registered participants may pay to Autism Society Philippines, Metrobank, Kamias Branch Account Number 047-3-04751874-2. Please email the deposit slip with the name/s of participant/s at and bring it on the day of the seminar. On-site registrants will be accepted depending on the availability of slots. There will only be 70 slots available. No refund will be given to participants who do not show up on the date of the seminar. For more details, please call ASP at 02-413-1942 or 02-410-4416.

The ASP Education and Empowerment Program serves as a platform to educate Filipino parents and professionals on the various interventions, modalities and theories surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorder. Their application and implementation are left at your discretion. The views and personal experiences of the speakers are their own and may not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

12 August 2015

Family Support Group for August 2015

ASPs monthly family support group sessions bring together parents, siblings and other family members to talk about their journey in living with autism. Participants share their experiences and draw enlightenment and strength from others going through the same challenges. We welcome members and non-members to this intimate gathering.

We encourage dads to attend this special Family Support Group session for August 22.Our facilitator for this session is Alejandro S. Cabason Jr. Alex serves as Vice President of the Autism Society Philippines. Alex is a graduate of AB Political Science from the University of the East Manila and of MA in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines Diliman. This public servant, church worker and a motivational speaker is happily married with four children. His youngest child, Victor Lorenzo or Vinz, is on the spectrum. An ardent advocate of autism education since 2002.

Date: August 22, Saturday
Time: 2:00-4:00PM
Venue: Autism Society Philippines National Headquarters
Address: #9 11th Jamboree Street cor. Sct. Fuentebella Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Sign up for the Family Support Group via the on-line form below or call 413-1942 or 410-4416. Only 15 seats are available.

10 August 2015

The indomitable spirit of RG and MM

At age 4, my first-born Ruben Guinolbay II (RG) was very hyperactive and exceptionally articulate. His preschool teachers suggested that I consult a developmental pediatrician to find out if he has a medical condition. Heeding the advice of the teachers, I decided to consult a devped who informed me that there was nothing wrong with RG. However, the doctor noticed that RG, like me, was hyperactive. The doctor claimed that considering RG’s age, he might eventually outgrow his hyperactivity. In February 2011, my younger son, Mariano Miguel Guinolbay (MM) was rushed to the hospital for a surprisingly high blood pressure of 160/100. He was very overweight and half of his face appeared disfigured. Upon the suggestion of the pediatrician who noticed MM’s irregular behavioral patterns, I visited Dr. Agnes Falcotelo who diagnosed MM and RG with autism. I was devastated. I could only say that my world seemed bleak and hopeless at that time.

As commonly experienced by mothers with young and rowdy children like mine, yayas come and go. The yayas simply cannot stand the hyperactivity and violent tendencies of my boys. Instead of expressing their emotions with words, RG and MM would simply tug at the maids’ arms or bite them. This is in addition to the behavioral problems they exhibit in school. I was often summoned to the Principal’s office because the boys were either bullied or did the bullying themselves. It bears stressing that one of the prominent traits of children with autism is the inability to socialize and lack of seeking to share enjoyment, interests and activities with other people.

On 01 April 2014, I decided to drop by the Taekwondo Central Gym to reminisce my Taekwondo days when life was a lot happier, simpler and without autism issues to deal with. I brought RG and MM to see if they would like to try the martial art. Having been diagnosed as hyperactive myself in 1980s, it did not come as a surprise that my boys will eventually inherit my personality traits including my love for Taekwondo.

It turns out that my children instantly loved Taekwondo and surprisingly excelled in it. Missing the sport, I decided to enroll too. The environment in Central Gym is very relaxing and conducive to friendships destined to last a lifetime. Our beloved coach, Ric Canlas is not only committed to developing young and talented athletes, he is very good also in motivating his students including children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. I would say that Coach Ric is exceptional in instilling the basic Taekwondo tenets particularly Self-Confidence, Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit in my children. Immediately two months after RG and MM enrolled in Taekwondo, the summons from the Principal’s Office disappeared and both boys became more sociable and more confident in dealing with people. I noticed too that my children became happier and less violent. The grades improved and became more stable. Because excessive energy are spent every practice, RG and MM are able to sit down and focus more on their academic lessons. Their weight likewise became ideal and more stable. MM’s blood pressure does not shoot up anymore. He dropped several pounds. Further, I am happy to say that returning to my old passion changed my outlook in life. I became healthier and more positive in my work. Each Taekwondo session is an instant family bonding opportunity for the three of us. My sons not only gained their self-confidence, they gained a lot of friends and happy memories at the Taekwondo Central Gym as well.

In closing, I highly recommend Taekwondo not only to families with children medically diagnosed with autism and/or ADHD or to families who just want to have a nice family bonding time. To quote the words of Chungwon Choue, President of the World Taekwondo Federation during the Opening Ceremony of the third World Para-Taekwondo Championships. "The hope that Taekwondo brings is limitless. It knows no boundaries and is hampered by no disability.”

About the contributor: Atty. Marianne Aniñgat-Guinolbay. The writer is a 2nd Dan Black Belter. She works as an Attorney V at the GSIS Main Office. She used to be a member of the De La Salle University Taekwondo team for the period 1990-1993. She is currently an active member of the ASP Marikina Valley Chapter.

08 August 2015

Vote for Pinoy PWAs for the finals at the Anan Autistic Talent Gala 2015

The AnAn International Education Foundation Hong Kong launched an annual musical contest for persons with autism in Asia in 2014 with the aim of providing opportunities for persons with autism to participate in social functions, to mingle and share with other members of society, to show their talents in public, and build up their self-confidence. The winners of the first round competition will be invited to join Anan Autistic Talent Gala 2015 Finals in Hong Kong in December 2015.

As the preliminary applications closed last month, let us show our support for ASP performers who made the first cut. To cast a valid vote, please, click the name of the PWA -- which leads to a link (the page is in Chinese).  Click "Like" and click "Vote".

1) Marcus Palomares. From the early days of ASP Diliman, we have watched Macky (as he is known in ASP circles) blossom as a musician. He recently returned from a trip to Korea where he performed in an international music festival. Please like Marcus' entry here.

2) Thara Marie Santiago. As half of the ASP Dreamgirls, Thara is no stranger to representing her country in international competitions. She has performed at the Malacanan Palace, SM MOA Arena and other venues, big and small. Please like Thara's entry here.

02 August 2015

Model PWA at UNDAF Workshop

Ian Lopez, a self-advocate for youth with disabilities from Autism Society Philippines Laguna Chapter, along with 46 fellow delegates, participated in the Youth Mainstreaming Workshop on the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) last 31 July 2015 at the Ballroom of Sequoia Hotel in Mother Ignacia corner Timog Avenues in Quezon City.

At the start of the event, the UNDAF for the Philippines was presented to the delegates. The UNDAF for the Philippines is a collaborative work between various national government agencies and organizations connected to the United Nations System in the Philippines. The review of youth issues, of which many were contributed by the delegates, happened afterwards.

After the opening program which included a presentation by three delegates from Sultan Kudarat, the Philippine Youth Development Plan (PYDP) Youth Development Index and the Mindanao Youth Agenda were presented. An open forum followed after with questions fielded from other delegates and representatives from various national government agencies regarding their roles in the previously mentioned agendas.

In the afternoon, the workshop proper was held, tackling various topics such as employment, participation of the youth in governance, the environment, education, health, and values. Mr. Lopez, along with some of his fellow delegates, was assigned to tackle issues relating to employment. The workshop outputs were presented, which shows some of the concerns raised by the delegates earlier in the day and how they intend to mitigate, of not solve those issues.

At the end of the one day workshop, there were opportunities for delegates to take selfies or self-taken shots. During that time, Mr. Lopez was able to talk to Mr. Ola Almgren, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines since late June of the current year. They had a brief conversation on employment with the emphasis on the equal opportunities and rights of people with disabilities in the country.

The workshop is a good avenue to influence policies that can positively affect Filipinos from five to thirty-year old's, which compose the majority of the population. Mr. Lopez noted from the synthesis of the workshop that the Filipino youth is demanding spaces for participation in many spheres of everyday life and not hug boxes or environments with a forced consensus that does not tolerate dissent (per a definition from Urban Dictionary) - whether online or in real life. He also noticed the themes of reducing vulnerabilities for the youth, intersectionality, leveling the playing field (“equal access for all” and fighting corruption) and harnessing of social media which is adaptively and maladaptively used in many cases, especially in the Philippine context.

He also expects that the Millennium Development Goals would be updated in a way to adapt the needs of developing countries. This was realized by the release of the Sustainable Development Goals, which has a focus on the youth among other groups. However, he hopes that the accomplishment of such goals do not go against some of our inalienable rights - especially involving life, liberty, property and security.

About the contributor: Ian Ferdinand Lopez is a scholar of the provincial government of Laguna, studying BA Sociology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Diagnosed with autism when he was three years old, he benefited from the care of loving parents and early intervention professionals; and was successfully mainstreamed from preschool up to high school. His started his advocacy as part of the Autism Resource Center and represented the PWD sector in the Philippine National Children’s Conference, the PWD Empowerment Seminar, the ASEAN Children’s Forum and the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD).

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