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.

21 September 2015

Family Support Group for October 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.  New ASP members are encouraged to join.

Our facilitator for this month is Autism Society Philippines National Trustee Carmel Almendrala. A former ambassador’s wife and an Ulirang Ina Awardee of 2010, Carmel personifies diplomacy as she faces the world with poise, grace and intelligence. Over the years and in the many countries where their family has had to relocate because of her husband's work, she laboured tirelessly to advocate for her son Michael, now in his 40’s. Serving as Trustee for more than seven terms, she reminds young mothers of children with autism: Grab every opportunity and don’t take no for an answer. This is evident in her son Mike, who is a Special Olympian Medalist (who competed in 2005 in power lifting and in 2013 in bowling), a 2005 Apolinario Mabini Awardee, and an independent member of the community working as an administrative staff of the Philippine Information Agency.

Date: October 17, Saturday
Time: 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Venue: Autism Society Philippines National Headquarters
Address: #9 11th Jamboree Street cor. Sct. Fuentebella Barangay Sacred Heart, Kamuning, Quezon City

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

19 September 2015

Alex Cabason leads September Family Support Group

Alejandro Cabason, ASP National Vice-President, welcomed 8 participants to the ASP Family Support Group held in ASP Office National Headquarters last 19 September 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.

The parents who attended the session shared some insights:

“I need to be more patient, dedicated, and to be more willing to continue giving my best to support my daughter Bea for her improvement and development. Not only on (sic) my daughter but to spread this knowledge that I have in order to other people to understand what ASD is.”

“I have to accept the fact the having an autistic child is not a burden but gift of having a child and the fact that he is high functioning and there is so much hope in him.”

“I am much lucky in (sic) other parent with ASD because according to our sharing some of them have severe cases. Before this sharing I am much depressed for my son. I realized that we are not alone, I found a new family. I found the right place.”

About the contributor. Lloyd Ngo worked as an ASP intern when he attended Independent Living and Learning Center. He began working in 2012 as an encoder at the Ongkiko Manhit Custodio and Acorda Law Offices in Makati. He is currently ASP’s part-time Program Assistant.

07 September 2015

ASP holds first national town hall meeting

A town hall meeting is an American term given to an informal public event that is open to everybody in a town community. Attendees generally present ideas, voice their opinions, and ask questions of their leaders.

ASP welcomed 26 chapter leaders from all over the NCR and nearby provinces to the attend ASP Leaders Town Hall Meeting held at the ASP National Headquarters last 05 September 2015. The event is envisioned to be a periodic discussion between the national and chapter leadership on critical concerns and upcoming impact projects. The event was broadcast over U-Stream for leaders who were based in provincial areas.

Leaders were engaged in topics geared towards a more energized organization, such as:
  • Mona Magno-Veluz discussed the status of the A-OKPhilippines campaign; and the exciting partnerships in the pipeline towards PWD employment and livelihood.
  • Jan Pena advised the team on chapter strenghtening strategies.
  • Donna Lim, Zumba Instructor extraordinaire and a mother to a teen with autism, announced the schedules of Auti-Zumba classes.
  • Ms. Cathy Lopez, President of ASP Laguna Chapter announced that the chapter will be receiving the Best Civil Society Organization honors from the Municipality of Los Banos at the Banamos Festival.  She shared proposed that the Festival of Arts in December 2015 become ASP’s activity for International PWD Day.
The event also served as the kick off for the planning for the National Autism Consciousness Week 2016. The national leadership shared the major events for that week -- the ASEAN Autism Friendship Games, the Angels Walk for Autism, 1Bansa-1Pangako, the First Philippine Autism Expo, among others. Project teams were create and timelines agreed upon.

The team also had some time to discuss some organization matters -- contributing to the Chapter Toolkit, creation of a financial planning project team. Exciting work ahead! The event culminated with a simple meal and bonding time with mid-afternoon videoke.

03 September 2015

Cooking Class with PWA Chef Dacki atbp!

In April 2015, ASP launched Project Gourm-A [pronounced gur-'mey], a program which aims to showcase skills of individuals on the spectrum in the food and restaurant industry. In our first event, we brought the public a dining experience with a difference, featuring adults with autism at Gourmet Gypsy.

For the project's next salvo, ASP is proud to host a multi-faceted Project GourmA experience where kids cook, parents learn and the families dine!

The PWA Session

Kids may join a one-dish cooking class composed of 12 youth on the spectrum (from 13 and up), who are independent in the kitchen and would not need assistance in executing basic tasks. This special cooking class will be led by PWA Chef Dacki Sandiego and Project Gourm-A Manager Al Pena, dad of aspiring PWA baker Muneer.

The Dish: Arroz a la Cubana consists of ground meat sauteed with onions, garlic, tomato sauce, diced veggies, serves with white rice, a fried egg and a fried plantain, sliced length-wise.

The Teacher: Carmelo Sebastian "Dacki" Sandiego is an inspiring young culinary professional. Chef Dacki started off as a student in Community of Learners and moved on to graduate from the Center for Culinary Arts. A former Special Olympics Global Ambassador, Dacki continues to be a fitness enthusiast. He now works at Puzzle Cafe as a sous chef and nurtures his budding catering business.

The Family Session

While the kids are cooking, the parents and guardians may participate in an interactive forum on "Vocation Planning for PWAs" presented by Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco, founder of Open Hands School for Applied Arts and moderated by ASP. The session aims to empower parents in preparing their children with autism for an independent life despite—or with the help of—their exceptionalities. Angie Sandiego, mom of Chef Dacki, and graduates of Open Hands will share their experiences in finding a vocation.

The highlight of the family session is when the kids are ready with the meal. The plated food which the kids have prepared will be served to the families. During lunch, the certificates of completion will be awarded.


Class Fee: P1,000
Maximum Class Size: 12 students

Class Fee Inclusions:
- Cooking class for PWA
- Seminar for parents
- Arroz ala Cubana meal for 3 pax (including student)
- Apron, hairnet, kitchen towel
- Recipe card
- Certificate of Participation for PWA

Payment must be received to confirm slot. Please fill out the form below.

01 September 2015

Q&A with Autism Experts - September 2015

"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. 

I have a friend, who got this condition and he was very sensitive in other things at times. I felt that it was so fast for him to get stubborn, mad. Frustrated in words that I said to him. Do you think it is also because of a bad experience from his childhood that is why it was so fast for him to get into this kind of reaction? Thanks --- Arena R. 

Maitanong ko po, diagnosed po ba ng doktor yung taong sinasabi ninyong may Asperger Syndrome o hinala lang po na mayroong ganitong kondisyon yung kaibigan ninyo? Ngayon po hindi na po ginagamit ang terminong Asperger Syndrome. Ito po ay bahagi ng Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) na isang kondisyon na mula sa kakaibang development ng utak ng tao. Hindi po ito nagmumula o dulot ng masamang karanasan ng tao. Ang taong may ASD, tulad ng sinabi ninyo, ay hirap umunawa ng ibig sabihin ng facial expressions, tono ng pananalita at iba pang social cues. Kaya maaaring mali ang interpretasyon niya sa sinasabi ng iba kaya hindi rin akma ang reaksyon niya. Nakakatulong minsan ang paggamit ng litrato, pag sulat sa halip na pagbigkas lamang ng gusto ninyong sabihin. Iwasan ang paggamit ng idioms at patalinhagang pananalita. May iba pang stratehiyang nakakatulong sa mga taong may ASD na ma-improve ang kanilang social at communication skills tulad ng "Social Thinking" ni Michelle Winner. Maaari pong sumangguni sa speech therapist tungkol dito. 

Since my son turned 13, we started to have problems with his aggression (biting hitting head butting). Doctors even gave me anti tetano shots for his bites. He wasn't like that before. He was on sped and various therapies since he was 2. Is it puberty? When does it stop? --- Jeannie P.

Appearance of aggressive behaviors during adolescence has been observed in several teenagers with autism. It maybe due to hormonal changes but it could also be due to other factors. It would be best to also consult your child's developmental pediatrician to rule out any other physiological conditions. Also, if really disruptive, the doctor may prescribe medicine that will help decrease your son's aggression. We cannot foretell when it will stop, although aggressive behaviors may decrease as the teen ager gets older. Do consult your devped for appropriate management.

I am from Mie Japan working in an international foundation. Recently a number of Filipino children (preschooler) living here in are being suspected to have developmental disorder namely ADHD and autism but the basic concern of the Japanese medical professionals is how to clearly explain to the parents the mental state of their children because of the language barrier. Is it possible to ask for a copy of mental test sheet written either in English or Filipino so that they can review and compare it to the one they have. --- Marychel C.

You may download the MChat - a screening tool for autism - from this site: and You may also download a copy of the autism primer from this site:

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 at Santa Clara, California; and came back to serve Filipino children with special needs.

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