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.

31 January 2018

Family Support Group for the month of February

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 Ms. Mary Janette Peña. Mam Jan is one of the tireless movers behind the meteoric rise in the numbers of ASP chapters nationwide, most significantly in Cavite. Jan’s commitment to the national autism advocacy has earned -- together with her husband Al and kids Thea (who is now the ASP Dasmariñas President), Muneer (an adolescent with autism) and Milli -- the coveted Jollibee Family Values Award in 2015.

Jan is also actively involved in the El Shaddai Ministry. Tita Jan is often called “Gobernadora” by ASP leaders. After becoming the founding chapter president of ASP Bacoor in 2006, Jan proceeded to building thirteen more chapters in Cavite province from 2007 to 2016. By 2008, the Gobernadora pursued chapter building outside of Cavite province, and was instrumental in forming 21 more chapters nationwide. In between chapter building, Jan also served as Board Trustee of ASP National From 2008 to 2016. But in 2017, Jan started overseeing the society’s operations as the new ASP Executive Director.

Date: 17 February 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.

29 January 2018

ASP PWAy Day for the Month of February

Many activities and team play participation will give you a training that will prove invaluable later on in life -- Walter Annenberg

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 February 7 - we will start our PWAy Day for 2018 - a Yoga for Relaxation with our very own Yoga Instructor Teacher Elizabeth Montenegro-Rye who will help us to develop motor skills, enhances balance and stability and develop body awareness. Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. It is also 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. Bring your own mat on this activity.

On February 14 - we will have a Cooking session - Adult with autism will cook Special Pancake with "HeartDog" - a simple and surprising but oh-so-satisfying snack to celebrate the Valentine's Day. Cooking can be an opportunity to increase independence, learn basic academic skills to use in a functional way. PWAs 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 February 21 - Adults with Autism will have Sensory Friendly Movie. To provide a more accepting and comfortable setting for our special audience, ASP will allow bringing up the lights, turning down sound volume, allowing families/PWAs to bring in their own snacks and welcoming audience members to get up, dance, walk, shout, sing, go in and out of the room.

On February 28 - we will have for the first time the Art of Painting Designer Shoes - Personalizing a pair of shoes is a great activity for the PWAs and also a great gift idea. This activity will require attentive focus and calmness to create and color, this can help to cultivate mindfulness, self-awareness, and stress relief. This session will also enhance the creativity of the PWAs and develop their natural artistic abilities. Materials to bring will be announce before the activity.

"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 January 2018

Seminar on Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) is a trademarked proprietary treatment program for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as other individuals struggling with relationship, communications, learning, emotional and self-regulation challenges. RDI is a parent-based training and supervision program that aims to restore the development of dynamic intelligence, which is the key to improving the quality of life for special needs individuals.

Built on the foundations of the emerging science of “Neuroplasticity”, the program provides training to parents to redo the neurological pathways disrupted by Autism or other childhood disorders. RDI consultants serve as guides to the parents to gradually unravel the very complex problems of understanding how to help each vulnerable individual.

Morning Session
Learn about Dynamic Intelligence and how this ability opens the door for greater quality of life in the 2st century. Topics covered include the research on Autism, an overview of the RDI program and how it targets lack of experience sharing communication, self-awareness, episodic memories, dynamic appraisal and creative problem solving abilities in individuals with ASD.

Afternoon Session
The session will include topics on parents’ readiness to begin Autism remediation the process of working with an RDI Consultant and the RDI Learning System. Parents will learn about making life style changes through meaningful daily opportunities and dynamic communication. Audiences will learn through interactive activities, video analysis and lively discussions to implement a few beginning RDI objectives at home.

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 with ASD.

Seminar Details:
Date: 24 February 2018, Saturday
Time: 9:00AM - 3:00PM
Venue: ASP National Headquarters, #9 11th Jamboree Street cor. Sct. Fuentebella, Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Seminar Fees:
Pre-Registration (until February 20 or until slots last)
ASP Member- P 700.00
Non-Member- P 900.00

On-site Registration
ASP Member- P 800.00
Non-Member- P 1000.00

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 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 02-903-5496.

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.

15 January 2018

Autism heroes congregate for Angels Walk for Autism

The Angels Walk for Autism, spearheaded by the Autism Society of the Philippines in partnership with SM Cares, kicked off the National Autism Consciousness Week at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City last 14 January 14, Sunday, with the gates opening as early as 6:30am. Other partners include MOA Arena, SM Mall of Asia, National Council on Disability Affairs, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability and the ASEAN Autism Network.

“The Angels Walk for Autism has become a major event that attracts national and international advocates,” according to Mona Magno-Veluz, ASP’s National President. “We are lucky to have 24,000 registered participants this year -- the biggest in our history! Angel Walks are also happening in Baguio, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Lucena, Roxas, Tacloban, and Tagbilaran all throughout January.” Among the esteemed guests were Hon. Urawadee Sriphiromya, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Royal Thai Embassy, Former Ambassador Piroon Laismit, Executive Director of Asia-Pacific Center on Disability, Acting Executive Director of the National Council on Disability Affairs Carmen Zubiaga and Michelle Aventajado Best Buddies Philippines Country Manager.

The event celebrates the "autism heroes" -- government, business, developmental pediatricians, therapists and teachers -- who work tirelessly for the inclusion of persons with autism in society. This year’s theme, “From Awareness to Acceptance, Accommodation and Appreciation,” affirms our position that disability inclusion should not be limited to “consciousness” but must translate to visible, deliberate, policy-driven action.

The traditional Angels Walk for Autism community shot (Image: SM Cares) 

The AOK-Talent Showcase kicked off at 8:00am with performances by the Mandaluyong CWD Drums and Lyre Band, Keith Ignacio, the ILLC Hearthrobs and Hunks, Tricia Cardino, Judith Rae and Red Avendano, Nunu Supaanong, Pauline Grace dela Cruz, Chaelda del Carmen and Cid Tampo. Charlene Danica Escasinas who received international recognition at the Autistic Talent Gala in HongKong was awarded the ASP Autism Angel Achievement Award (A5) by Senator Risa Hontiveros and ASP President Mona Magno-Veluz.

The new ASP program called HOMEpowerment was introduced by ASP President Mona Magno-Veluz. This free therapy program for young children with autism from indigent families, coupled with parent training, was made possible through a grant from Kiehl's Philippines, represented by Ms. Shar Le Chua, General Manager of LÓreal's Luxury Division and Ms. Candy Pangilinan, comedianne and autism mom, who lent her voice to the fund-raising efforts.

The Mixxed Fit Warm-Up was led by Donna and Desly Lim and a crew of superheroes which included Wowie de Guzman as Captain America.

The Program Proper kicked off with a prayer from the students of GS Options House. Young boys on the spectrum shared a simple yet innocently honest prayer for our community and sang a fun rendition of "Jesus is my Superhero". The Philippine National Anthem was accompanied by community shots of Angels Walk for Autism from past years. The TRC x Kid Lightning Crew, Medalists of 2017 World Supremacy Battlegrounds, wowed us all with a chest-thumping opening salvo.

ASP Chair Emeritus and current Chair of the ASEAN Autism Network Dang Koe commanded the stage as she made a grand entrance in a Wonder Woman costume. She joked about the lengths she would go for the autism advocacy!

The Autism Society Philippines chose to honor Autism Angels and Heroes who have made life better for persons and families who live with autism, with specially rendered videos and custom-forged medals.

From the business sector, Mr. Hans Sy (SM Prime), Ms. Annie Garcia (President, SM Supermalls) and Mr. Steven Tan (COO, SM Supermalls) received medals in behalf of businesses creating autism-friendly experiences. SM Supermalls, through it groundnbreaking SM Cares program, pioneered PWD sensitivity training as an operational requisite for all their malls. Each mall conducts PWD sensitivity training twice a year, as part of their annual objectives. The company has set the bar for PWD-friendly public spaces and projects in the Philippine retail industry.

L-R: Cecile Sicam, Gio Koe, Annie Garcia, Hans Sy, Carl Veluz, Steven Tan, Mona Veluz (Image: SM Cares)

From the government sector, Senator Risa Hontiveros and Representative Tom Villarin received medals in behalf of public servants who create policies, protocols and programs for the growing population of PWAs in the Philippines. Senator Hontiveros was the primary sponsor behind the Mental Health Act of 2017; while Representative Villarin recently filed HB 6934 or the National Autism Care Plan Bill which defines the roadmap for genuine inclusion of persons with autism in society.

Developmental pediatricians -- Dr. Mimi Avendano, Dr. Rochelle Pacifico (President, Philippine Society of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics) and Dr. Alexis Reyes -- received medals on behalf of the 51 other specialists in their field, currently practising in the Philippines. They possess training and experience to consider the medical and psychosocial aspects of children's and adolescents' developmental and behavioral problems; and are important partners to families in the long-term care of their family member with autism.

Speech Pathologists -- Teacher Ely Bautista (President, Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists), Teacher Mae Sadicon and Teacher Weng Ynion -- received medals in behalf of the 300 or so practicing speech therapists in the Philippines. With communication as a key challenge in persons on the spectrum, speech pathologists with legitimate training help PWA develop expressive and receptive language, which can open doors to learning and socialization.

L-R: Mona Veluz, Ely Bautista, Weng Ynion, Ken Cheng, Mae Sadicon, Helen Cheng (Image: SM Cares)
Occupational Therapists -- Teacher Achie Gozon (Past President, Philippine Academy of Occupational Therapists) and Teacher Karla Tolentino -- received medals on behalf of the approximately 600 licensed occupational therapists in the Philippines, who chose to build their practice around developmental disabilities. It takes special dedication to promote, maintain, and develop the skills needed by persons on the spectrum to be functional in a school setting and beyond. They help families build learning skills, self-esteem, self-confidence, independence, and social interaction in our family members with autism.

Special Education Teachers -- Teacher Arnold Alegre (Hopewell School), Teacher Landa Bautista-Abundo (The Learning Center), Teacher Archie David (Independent Living Learning Center), Teacher Bunny Joaquin (SHINE Intervention Center) -- received medals on behalf of the special education teachers who have the daunting task of working with students who may have learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They are masters in instructional and behavioral accommodation, ensuring inclusion for all learners with special needs.

The awarding of medals were punctuated by performances from Thara Marie Santiago and Charlene Danica Escasinas -- both A5 awardees.

The ASP Autism Works Partner of the Year was awarded for the first time this year. The honor went to SM Markets who was represented by Mr. Jose Mari Mendoza (President, SM Supermarkets), Mr. Jojo Tagbo (President, SM Savemore) and Ms. Dorothy Sobrevega (AVP - HR, SM Food Group) for the "AutiSM at Work" program. The first meeting was held in September 2015 and it took almost a year for the company to launch the pilot in July 2016. Since then, the leading supermarket chain has filled 28 positions with workers with autism in Cebu, Iloilo, Mandaluyong, Quezon City and Taguig. A 100 percent growth is expected in 2018 -- including new stores in NCR, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and Laguna.

L-R: Mona Veluz, Mico Ramos, Jojo Tagbo, Marivic Ramos, Joey Mendoza, Carmel Almendrala, Dorothy Sobrevega, Mike Almendrala (Image: SM Cares)

Ms. Dang called for the showing of appreciation for our loved ones who have been our heroes in our helping our children with autism live better lives. Our community of family members, yayas, teachers, therapists, doctors, and advocates were joined in one glorious virtual hug!

Ms. Mona took to the stage to give the last word. She stressed the need to come together in support of the National Autism Care Plan and in showing society the unified strength of the "mighty magulang, awesome advocates and power PWAs" of ASP. She then called for the official start of the walk.

Mr. Hans Sy, Ms. Dang Koe and Ms. Mona Magno-Veluz lead the vanguard with PWAs and honored guests among them.
Kicking off from the MOA Arena, participants made their way to the MOA Music Hall. The finish line became a place to take souvenir shots and chat with fellow advocates before naturally dispersing into the mall in small groups. Ms. Dang awarded June Andre Del Monte aka Angel Warrior and Reyn Vincent Cuento aka Super Angel as winners of the Autism Hero Costume Contest. They split the purse and went home with P5,000 each.

The Autism Society Philippines thanks you all for making the Angels Walk for Autism the super success that is was.  Let's continue to build and Autism-OK Philippines! Until next year!

01 January 2018

Gear up for the Angels Walk for Autism 2018!

This year’s Angels Walk for Autism is celebrating the contributions of the many angels and heroes who make life better for families who live and love with autism!

What better way to get into the spirit of the walk than by dressing up as your very own original hero! Gear up with your family, schools and barkadas! Have fun with the concept — be inspired; but be original!

You can also join the “Autism Hero Costume Contest”! Using an Angels Walk shirt (from any year), dress yourself as an all ORIGINAL hero (no Marvel, DC derivatives please) and post a photo on your Facebook or Instagram timeline, with your superhero name and the hashtags #angelswalk2018 #autismhero. Don’t forget to tag ASP! The contest is open to all — young and old, individuals or groups. Deadline for entries is on 12 January 2018, Friday at 5pm. One winner be announced on 13 January 2018, Saturday and must be present at the Angels Walk for Autism finish line at the MOA Arena Music Hall to bring home the P10,000 cash prize!

What else can we do to celebrate the heroes in our lives? Prepare small tokens or letters for teachers, therapists, doctors, friends and family who have been everyday heroes to our loved ones with autism. At a specific point in the Angels Walk program, we will ask everyone to express their love for these amazing people with a thoughtful gesture. Let’s do this!

The Philippines is a more inclusive place because autism heroes inspire acceptance, accommodation and appreciation of individuals with autism. Thank you, Autism Heroes!

Gio is AU-SOME MAN! #angelswalk2018 #autismhero

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