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.

13 July 2015

ASP Sta. Rosa Aqua Therapy

The ASP Sta Rosa Chapter had a wonderful time learning the basics of Aqua Therapy last July 12, 2015 at the Banahaw Clubhouse of Sta Elena Golf and Country Club, Sta. Rosa Laguna. The whole day event composed of lectures and actual pool session conducted by Christian Oliver Cruz, Head of Physical Therapy at Quality Life Discoveries.

Parents, teachers, family members and our Persons with Autism (PWA) learned basic aqua therapy techniques and understood how these form of adjunct therapy can be a good form of exercise, relaxation, sensory integration and a means to build self-confidence and social skills. Aside from the learning, it was a good bonding moment for the family and our ASP Sta Rosa team as we all partake of good food and shared stories and laughter. The group will hold another follow up session to provide the participants opportunities to practice what they have learned.

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.

10 July 2015

First In Laguna – Sensitivity Training In Transport Sector

In line with the commemoration of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, Autism Society Philippines Laguna Chapter conducted sensitivity training to drivers, conductors and other personnel working for HM Transport Inc. and associated companies in its terminal in Barangay Biñan, Pagsanjan, Laguna. The orientation, attended by 49 employees, was conducted by chapter president Catherine L. Lopez, chapter treasurer Veronica G. Chavez and self advocates Ian Lopez and Emmanuel Zamora. Jorge Sundance Filamor II, chief operating officer of HM Transport, Inc. who made the orientation possible, was also in attendance. The orientation held on July 8 covers the first batch of employees while the orientation for the second batch will be held at a later date.

The feedback is generally positive and participants were able to gain knowledge in handling special passengers, which they will apply in their daily interactions with passengers.

The sensitivity training and the renewal of partnership between ASP Laguna Chapter and HM Transport Inc. was a result of an incident involving the mother of a person with disability and her child who were en route to their destination somewhere in Metro Manila. The incident was resolved with a meeting with officials from LTBRB, ASP Laguna and HM Transport Inc. representative, Gerry Yambao and chief executive officer, Mr. Homer A. Mercado. One good thing about the meeting is that Mr. Mercado recognized the efforts of ASP Laguna for bringing up this issue and supported its efforts to conduct sensitivity trainings in the transport sector, starting with HM Transport, Inc.

ASP Laguna thanks HM Transport for cooperating in the initial steps to help PWDs experience a pleasant travel using public transportation. This orientation is just a start in reaching out to the transport sector in the province of Laguna. Other companies and organizations that are part of the transport sector in Laguna and other parts of the country will have sensitivity trainings in the near future. Eventually, transport sector will be empowered plays a key role in making a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities and their families.

About the Author: Ms. Catherine L. Lopez is a mother of a young adult with autism studying at UP Los Baňos. She is the Job Coach for the office and messenger services of Autism Resource Center. She also serves as the President of ASP Laguna Chapter and coordinator of Los Baños Community Center, Therapy Intervention and Support Services.

27 June 2015

ARC Trainees In Action For Laguna Seminars

Autism Resource Center trainees participated in Laguna Seminars on Autism, which was held on June 26, 2015 at D. L. Umali Hall inside the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus. The seminars discussed topics involving the trends and aspects related to autism in Laguna province and the world in general.

Though not part of the program proper, they took charge of the food distribution, where they provided morning snacks, lunch and afternoon snacks. They also manned the coffee booths, which were essential for the motivation of the participants.

The participants commented that their service is fast but organized. They added that the trainees were efficient in distributing the food and that they are adept in what they were doing.

The trainees also promoted and marketed products that they made. These include the timeless angel products like bracelets, cellphone charms, earrings, necklace, bookmarks, car charm, door charm. The survival bracelet and key chain, new product offered by ARC, were first introduced in the same event. The survival bracelet, which has a built-in whistle, can carry up to 550 pounds or approximately 250 kilograms when unraveled. The survival bracelets were made from parachute cords, which are used by many military units since the early 1940’s. On the other hand, the key chains have a built-in whistle and a fire starter which is waterproof. Such products can be used in time of emergencies like natural disasters and power outages.

The ARC team was composed of Michael Cansanay, Emman Zamora, Patrick Ian Cruz, Gino Luna, Joshua Pantoja, Ian Lopez, Kaymar Mendaña and Mico Ramos. They were assisted by Ms. Lian del Valle, Ms. Marivic Ramos, Ms. Vay Chavez, Ms. Deborah Sanchez, Ms. Cathy Lopez, Ms. Monette Garcia, Ms. Gigi Gomez, Ms. Vangie Biel and Ms. Jane Pantoja. Arnel Megino and Ms. Ardee Deang documented the events and provided assistance together with parent-volunteer Eman Teodoro.

The Laguna Seminars on Autism was organized by the two partner schools of Autism Society Philippines Laguna Chapter (First Steps Intervention and Therapy Center & Kids Cove Center for Children with Learning Differences) and the Philippine General Hospital’s Developmental and Behavioral Studies Unit in partnership with the Office of the Chancellor of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Department of Human and Family Development Studies of the UPLB College of Human Ecology, the UPLB University Health Service and Autism Society Philippines Laguna Chapter.

The speakers were Pilar Habito, Dr. Alexis L. Reyes, Dr. Rita Grace R. Villadovid, Dr. Ma. Anna Lourdes A. Moral, Ms. Mae Catherine S. Sadicon, Ms. Cecile Sicam and Dr. Joel D. Lazaro. The participants in the panel discussion held during the afternoon were Catherine L. Lopez (ASP Laguna Chapter President), Ms. Rhodela C. Manaloto (Co-owner of First Steps Intervention and Therapy Center), Rhodalyn Aurea B. Mendoza (Directress of Kids Cove Center for Children with Learning Differences), Rowena Ynion (Speech Therapist), and Elmer Alipala (Occupational Therapist).

“In general, the participation of the ARC/ASP Laguna team together with the enthusiastic reception of the participants made the event a resounding success.”

About the author: Ian Lopez is an incoming senior student at University of the Philippines Los Baños taking up BA Sociology. He is a self-advocate for people with disabilities and volunteers with ASP Laguna Chapter since 2009.

05 June 2015

ASP Family Support Group for June 2015

ASP 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.

Our facilitator for the June 20 Family Support Group session is Mary Janette I. Peña. Jan is the immediate past-President of ASP National and one of the movers behind the meteoric creation of ASP chapters nationwide. Her exemplary efforts have gathered; hundred of members from Cavite alone. Her passion in serving the autism community earned her a title as ASP’s “hypermom”. Mom to her three children, Tita Jan’s second child is Muneer, a young man with autism.

Date: June 20, 2015
Time: 2:00-4:00 pm
Venue: Avida Settings Clubhouse Molino Road, Bacoor City, Cavite

Sign up for the Family Support Group below or call 926-6941 or 929-8447. Only 15 seats are available.

25 May 2015

Autism Angels Take Flight with Cebu Pacific

Autism Angels Take Flight is a ground-breaking program for the Philippine autism community. This program headed by ASP Trustee Gina Bermudo aims to help remove the "invisible" barriers that allow individuals with autism travel -- whether for their day-to-day commute or for adventures in far away places. After years of training in public transportation, ASP actively pursued exposure of PWAs to the airport and air travel.

Seven members from ASP UP CAMP Manila, 6 from ASP Pasay, 3 from ASP Mandaluyong and 1 from Footsteps Learning Center under ASP National were invited to have a flight orientation by Cebu Pacific last 22 May 2015. Children with autism (CWA), who mostly were first timers to see a real airplane up close, were given a chance to explore the different parts of the Airbus 350, the biggest plane of Cebu Pacific. This was done to orient the participants on what to see in an airplane, in case they would really be having a trip in the future. The CWAs and their mothers / guardians saw both the economy class, business class and even tried sitting on the pilot's seat in the cockpit.

The activity was most useful to Wesley Miles of Footsteps Learning Center because it was a chance for him to overcome his fear of airplanes. In the shuttle bus, he got fidgety and anxious from seeing the airplanes we have passed by the hangar. His teacher told us that he was left behind two times already because his family can't make him enter the airplane they need to ride for their trip.

After most of the group were finished exploring the plane, Wesley was just starting to overcome his fear of seeing the Airbus. We were about to go back to the Cebu Pacific office, but he was just about to start his ascend on the plane’s steps. He kept coming up a few steps then going down again. We cheered him on for him to continue going up the stairs. The Cebu Pacific / Airbus crew also helped convince him to go up. His teacher was waiting for him near the entrance of the plane.

The group was also treated to snacks and some souvenirs – cap, baller bracelet and bag tag of Airbus. My son, Rolo, is fond of playing airplane games in his iPad. So this activity gave us a chance to let him see an actual airplane up close. He can’t stop staring at the airplanes we passed by while still inside the shuttle bus. He was excited more when we were about to go up the airplane. When he was seated inside, he was asking for the plane to take off. He wore a bigger smile when he saw the cockpit and was able to sit on the pilot’s seat. He watched the other planes taking off or running by the hangar. He also saw a helicopter. It was a treat for him especially because the activity was done a day before his birthday.

Thanks to all the crew and staff of Cebu Pacific and ASP for this opportunity! Hope we can have this activity regularly for other members to experience it too. I know it’s also a learning experience for the staff of Cebu Pacific because they get to see the different reactions of the CWAs upon seeing and going inside the airplane. They would know more about how to handle them properly in case they get to encounter a CWA in a real flight.

After the event, we ask for comments and reactions from the participants through text and here are some of the replies:

“Even for a short time, I saw my daughter amazed and excited looking at the airplanes and helicopter in real life, she saw a landing aircraft, and she was really excited to see the inside of the airplane, she already wanted to ride. She was ready to go and ride without fear. Thank you!
I hoped they were given a paper or certificate that they had an orientation so that if ever someone interviews her, she can say she had experienced and was given a flight orientation
already.” – Esther Nosotros

“Enjoy na enjoy kahit mainit. Thanks!” - Aida Larga

“Thank you Cebu Pacific! Happy na naman ang aming mga anghel sa buhay lalo na ang anak kong si Aldae Buendia. First time nya makasakay ng airplane at makaupo. Sana sa next activity yung nakalipad naman ang eroplano kahit malapit na destination lang. Thanks and God bless ASP!” – Dolores Buendia

“Thank you so much for inviting us. We were able to convince him to go inside the plane though
it took us an hour. I hope we can join again your other endeavors. God bless!” – Teacher
Jesereth Santiago

“Yes, we enjoyed it. Thank you very much and more power to you all. God bless!” - Carolina Lim

“Thanks so much po. It was a great experience.” – Tess Dimayuga

About the contributor: Jennette F. Rodriguez, a mother to 3 kids, including an boy with autism, is the Secretary of ASP UP CAMP Manila Chapter and a Parent-Volunteer at the Padre Gomez SPED Center. A graduate of BS Commerce major in Economics at University of Santo Tomas, she has assisted in organizing several events of the chapter and has given talks on Orientation on Autism and ASP to different schools and colleges, and PWD Ministries in the Vicariate of Loreto.

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