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.

01 June 2018

The “Tuklas” of an Atenean on the Spectrum

Last March 25, 2018, I graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University together with the rest of my BS Computer Science 2018 batchmates. As I looked back at how I was able to survive college as an ASD student with the help and grace of God, I came to the conclusion that it was indeed a memorable time which changed my perspective for the rest of my life. Our batch has been called “Tuklas”, which could be translated as “Discover” in English. What follows is a brief summary of my experiences back in my days as an Atenean and how my quest for “Tuklas” ultimately led me to realize that there are indeed people who accepted me and supported me all throughout my studies.

Ezekiel Adriel D. Lagmay
For instance, there were my very considerate and caring friends and classmates that I have met in my entire four-year stay as a BS Computer Science student in Ateneo. During the Orientation Seminar for all Atenean newbies, I initially felt “out-of-place” because of new people and new places, but thank God, I was able to make new friends in that event. In fact, during an activity, most of my blockmates (aka my newfound peers) described me as an energetic, friendly, and a kind person. And in the years that follow, my colleagues were indeed a great help to me in that they guided me in my behavioral, moral, and spiritual maturity. Above all, they show no discrimination and favoritism. And speaking of which, I should never forget as well the organizations which further hone my skills and my advocacies, most notably the Computer Society of the Ateneo (CompSAt), Ateneo Mathematics Society (AMS), Ateneo Special Education Society (SPEED), and my Every Nation Campus Bible Study Group.

I should also not forget to mention the professors, staff, and subjects that made the most impact in the way I think about myself and others. My mentors from the Office of Student Services and Office of Guidance Counseling helped me to adjust to the new social environment at the Ateneo despite having ASD. The Introduction to Ateneo Cultures and Traditions (InTACT) program allowed me get to know more of myself and become more appreciative and open to others, my family, my country, and above all, to the Lord God Almighty whom I serve. My professor who taught General Psychology saw my potential to be an encouragement to others as an advocate for people with ASD. Along with others, I was chosen to take a course in Problem Solving Techniques and even went as far as coaching Ateneo Junior High School students for the Ateneo Mathematics Olympiad. Through Science and Society, I became very interested most especially in nutrition, health, and urban planning. A study in the life and works of Jose Rizal made me aware of the social and economic problems of the Philippines. Courses in Theology and Philosophy led me to further reflect on action for justice and the importance of community in helping out solve issues. Together with my group mates, our undergraduate thesis on eye-tracking provided the Ateneo Laboratory for the Learning Sciences with new insights on the differences on how novice and expert programmers read, understand, and debug code written in the Java programming language.

Besides the very accommodating people whom I encountered in my stay in Ateneo, there were other things I did which not only further my advocacy for people with special needs but also those which benefit all social sectors. Some of the events where I got involved in include Ateneo Mathematics Olympiad, as a coach for Grade 7 students, and later the Grade 8 students, Ateneo Summer Programming Camp, as a secretariat for the teachers class and as a tutor for the students class, Ateneo Center for Educational Development, where I joined in the feeding program of the Ateneo Blueplate for Better Learning as part of my Immersion requirements, and TALAB 2018, where I volunteered and assisted Ateneo SPEED. Outside of Ateneo, I also spend time teaching kids at Sunday School. And that does not end there. As of this writing, I am currently taking up my MS CS STRAIGHT program in my alma mater and I have plans on either continuing eye-tracking studies which started back in my undergraduate thesis, or to create a new educational application altogether. Either way, these proposals aim to benefit people with special needs, more specifically children with ASD like me. In addition, I plan to finish the “construction” of my children’s educational blog entitled “The Adventures of Zene and Zeanne”, which teaches about Christianity and Philippine Culture. I’ll continue to support Autism Society Philippines and Best Buddies Philippines and I’m thankful to be a member of those organizations.

Let me conclude this article by going back to the graduation ceremony itself. In one portion of the event, I, together with the other JGSOM and SOSE graduates, were blessed and privileged to have Ms. Roselle Ambubuyog, a visually impaired Atenean who graduated Class Valedictorian of Batch 2001, as our keynote speaker. But of all that she said in her speech that day, these statements stood out for me: “Desire to inspire, and serve without reserve...Never underestimate your capacity to inspire and be inspired.... Commit to excellence in service and don’t settle for ‘good enough’” (Ambubuyog). Let me tell you this: Don’t let your disability be an excuse for you not to be used by God for His wonderful purposes for this world. Psalm 139:14 says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Thus, I challenge you, the next time you think that you can’t do it because of your weaknesses, say “With God, everything is possible!” (Matthew 19:26). Above all, I invite you to always “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).

Works Cited:
Ambubuyog, Roselle R. “Seeing by Insight.” Ateneo de Manila University Commencement Exercises 2018. Ateneo de Manila University Commencement Exercises 2018, 25 May 2018, Quezon City, Ateneo De Manila University.

Ezekiel Adriel D. Lagmay
BS Computer Science 2018, Program Awardee
Magna Cum Laude
Ateneo de Manila University

31 May 2018

ASP PWAy Day for the Month of June

“Kids have to be exposed to different things in order to develop. A child’s not going to find out he likes to play a musical instrument if you never exposed him to it…” --- Temple Grandin

The Autism Society Philippines Wednesday "PWAy Day" aims to provide enrichment for teens and adults with autism who are not currently enrolled in schools. ASP PWAy Days will offer opportunities to learn new skills, to socialize with non-family members and to have fun. This will be every Wednesday, from 2pm to 4pm at ASP Headquarters. This is open to all PWAs, 16 years old and above.

On June 6 - Join us again with Teacher Elizabeth Montenegro-Rye for a Yoga for Relaxation. Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga helps adults with autism in many ways. It develops motor skills, enhances balance and stability and develops body awareness.Yoga improves confidence and social skills, learning self-control and self-calming techniques through yoga, they are likely to grow confidence in interacting with others and refine their social skills. It is also help the PWAs to be calm and relax. Bring you own mat on this activity.

On June 13 - we will have Art session - we will make a DIY Father's Day Mugs. Celebrate Father's Day by making personalized mugs for your daddy or Papa. Show how much you love him through your unique design.Through this art activity, this will promotes mental and emotional growth through art making. art therapy is conducted with the aim of building life skills, addressing deficits and problem behaviors, and promoting healthy self-expression. Bring your own coffee mugs or maso jar, glue gun, scissors and glue.

On June 20 - we will have a Cooking session. PWAs will cook Special Puto, one of the oldest traditional rice cakes in the Philippines. For adults with autism, cooking can be an opportunity to increase independence, learn basic academic skills to use in a functional way. Cooking is a multi-sensory experience. Children who have sensory processing challenges can benefit greatly from the smells, textures and tastes involved with the cooking process. This will teach the PWAs on proper food hygiene, simple food preparation, and presentation. Participants must bring their own hair net, apron, and closed shoes (no slippers or sandals please). Prepare a P150 donation when you get on-site.

On June 27 - we will have Tshirt Tie- Dye. Tie-dye is characterized by the use of bright, saturated primary colors and bold patterns. These patterns, including the spiral, mandala, and peace sign, and the use of multiple bold colors. Tie-dye can be used to create a wide variety of designs on fabric, from standard patterns such as the spiral, peace sign, diamond, and the marble effect to beautiful works of art. This is a really fun activity to work on with your PWAs. You can incorporate color identification, fine motor skills, following directions, sequencing, and more!

"Adults with autism who are no longer in school end up in the fringes of society." Mona Magno-Veluz, ASP National President shares, "ASP is deeply invested in building a society where a individuals with autism be the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive and socially-accepted members of the community -- no matter where they are on the spectrum. By keeping PWAs active and engaged outside the home, we are also training the society to be more aware of what autism is, to be more appreciative of their gifts and to be more accommodating of their deficits."

25 May 2018

Seminar on Autism-Friendly Learning Environment

30 June 2018, Saturday
9AM - 4PM

Structured teaching is a system for: organizing space; change of activities with schedules; work study systems to facilitate learning process; and material organization to promote independence. Its primary purpose is to improve adaptation of persons with autism by modifying or structuring the environment to accommodate learning deficits of those in the spectrum.

What distinguishes this seminar from others given on the same topic is the rich inclusion of application of structured teaching at home, from the resource persons’ personal experiences with their sons with autism and those of other families they met and students they taught. Three mothers/teachers will give actual examples emphasizing the need for consistent practice and collaboration between school teachers and carers at home.

Participants will be given the opportunity to design a structured environment for their child/student through facilitated workshops.

About the Speaker and Facilitators:

Dang Uy Koe is ASP’s Chairperson Emeritus and Chairman of ASEAN Autism Network. She graduated with degrees in Communication Arts from the University of Santo Tomas and the University of the Philippines. A sought-after speaker who travels to many parts of the country sharing hopes and building dreams with families living with autism, Dang is the recipient of 2013 Apolinario Mabini Award for Rehabilitation Volunteer and UST’s 2009 The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award for Humanitarian Service for her autism advocacy work.

Cecile Sicam is one of the 11 original founders of the Autism Society Philippines. She has served ASP in many capacities, as Secretary, President from 2001 to 2004; Vice President. Cecile has been teaching children with special needs for more than 2 decades. She taught SpEd for three years Santa Clara County, California; and upon her return resumed her position as Program Coordinator of Bridges Foundation Inc. She served as BFI's Directress from 2010-2016. She was her son's job coach upon his transition from school. Her adult son, Likas, has been employed for more than a decade. Now retired, she is currently ASP's Board Secretary, Education Committee Head and Project Manager of the Homepowerment Project.

Joyla Ofrecia is a mother of two, Juris 18, he has autism & Patricia 17. She has been a hands-on mother and for 16 years, has been implementing home intervention programs along with other school/center-based interventions for her own son and 11 years for other children with autism. She has earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Angeles University Foundation. She conducts training to parents and professionals and orientations to different organizations and institutions on autism. She is one of the Trustees of ASP National, also the current president of the Autism Society Philippines City of San Fernando Pampanga Chapter and Program Director of Noah Autism Resource Center. Teacher Joy finds her fulfillment in her role as an advocate of autism and an instrument to empowering parents of children with special needs. Her passion in what she does is fueled by the firm belief that she was tasked to fulfill God's purpose for her life.

Seminar Details:
Date: 30 June 2018, Saturday
Time: 9:00AM - 4:00PM
Venue: ASP National Headquarters, #9 11th Jamboree Street cor. Sct. Fuentebella, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Seminar Fees:
Pre-Registration (until June 26 or until slots last)
ASP Member- P 800.00
Non-Member- P 1, 000.00

On-site Registration
ASP Member- P 1, 000.00
Non-Member- P 1, 200.00

Pre-registered participants may pay to Autism Society Philippines, Metrobank, Kamias Branch Account Number 047-3-04751874-2. Please email the scan copy of your deposit slip with the name/s of participant/s and contact numbers to and bring it on the day of the seminar. On-site registrants or walk- in will be accepted depending on the availability of slots. There will only be 45 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 02-903-5496.

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.

21 May 2018

Family Support Group for the month of June

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. New ASP members are encouraged to join.

Our facilitator for this month is Cecilia Sicam. Cecile Sicam is one of the 11 original founders of the Autism Society Philippines. She has served ASP in many capacities, as Secretary, President from 2001 to 2004; Vice President. Cecile has been teaching children with special needs for more than 2 decades. She taught SpEd for three years Santa Clara County, California; and upon her return resumed her position as Program Coordinator of Bridges Foundation Inc. She served as BFI's Directress from 2010-2016. She was her son's job coach upon his transition from school. Her adult son, Likas, has been employed for more than a decade. Now retired, she is currently ASP's Board Secretary, Education Committee Head and Project Manager of the Homepowerment Project.

Date: 16 June 2018, Saturday
Time: 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Venue: Autism Society Philippines National Headquarters
Address: #9 11th Jamboree Street cor. Sct. Fuentebella, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Sign up for the Family Support Group via the on-line form below or call +632 903.5496. Only 15 seats are available.

09 May 2018

The ASEAN Autism Games 2018 is on!

The Autism Society Philippines is preparing for the country's participation at the ASEAN Autism Games 2018! Organized by the ASEAN Autism Network and the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability, this year's event comes in the wake of other successful regional friendship games.

In January 2016, autism advocates from ASEAN countries congregated in the University of the Philippines campus in Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines for the First ASEAN Autism Friendship Games, led by the Autism Society Philippines. In December 2016, the Myanmar Autism Association quarterbacked a milestone sporting event for their country -- the first exclusively for persons with autism -- at the Myanmar Paralympic Sports Center in Yangon, Myanmar. In October 2017, the Association of Parents of Thai Persons with Autism welcomed 800 participants -- the biggest number, so far -- for the Third ASEAN Autism Games, dubbed Disability-Inclusive Sports for Tomorrow in Bangkok, Thailand.

Participation in international sporting events breeds mutual understanding and friendship between athletes of autism, their parents and other supporters from all over the region through innovative autism-friendly recreation, leisure and sports activities.

The ASEAN Autism Games event will be held on date 20-21 October 2018. The Venue is Gelanggang Olah Raga Sumantri Brojonegoro in the area Kuningan, Central Jakarta, Indonesia. This year, the skills and talents of persons with autism will be positively promoted in track and field, swimming, Dodgebee, and traditional Indonesian games.

We would like to invite athletes who meet the following criteria to apply to be a member of the Philippine delegation.

... is an ASP member (can be completed before August 2018)
... with a formal autism diagnosis, verbal or non-verbal
... is in good physical health
... is 18 years old and above

Confirmed participants will be invited for assessments and practices. All expenses related to travel will be shouldered by the athlete and his/her family. We estimate all expenses per person to fall between USD 300 and USD 500. All athletes must travel with at least one parent.

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