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.

28 August 2014

Team ASP discovers the new SM Exploreum

The SM Lifestyle Entertainment, Incorporated (SMLEI), through SM Cares, recently invited Autism Society Philippines to be among the first guests of the newly renovated Exploreum at the SM Mall of Asia. Eight new galleries which include 250 interactive exhibits will continue to show educational content through state-of-the art technologies. Exploreum is a place of total immersion that will stimulate curiosity and inspire interest in science. It’s guiding principle is to make science relevant in everyday life at the same time make learning fun and interactive for its patrons.

Exploreum had its soft opening and ASP had its first taste of the new Exploreum last 9 August 2014, bringing in a total of 50 CWAs with their parents. The CWA’s had a fun day exploring the whole center and taking curious walks through the new galleries. Below are the parents’ testimonials on their experience at Exploreum with their kids:

Monique Pinpin with son, Mico: “We enjoyed exploring the exhibit of helicopter models especially my son who is fond of looking at the spinning of its ‘elisi’ and the different wheels used for transportation. Thank to SM Exploreum for inviting us.”

Leyminda Maranon, with son Julliann: “He was happy and enjoyed the event. He immediately told his dad about his experience through phone call right after the event. He learned about what happens in day and night through the planetarium show. Most of all, he socialized well with other CWAs.”

Imelda Alviso, with son Paulo: “My kid enjoyed it especially the many trivias written. It’s very informative and SM Exploreum employees are very friendly and smiling. The facilities helped them in turn taking, waiting, focusing, and listening to different sounds.”

Annabelle Saman, with son Gerard John: “We really had fun and my son enjoyed the exhibit especially about the solar system, earth and volcano. And the gallery attendant was also impressed that he knew about how many planets we have and he named them in order. He also enjoyed the show from planetarium and he felt like travelling to the moon. Thanks a lot to SM Exploreum for this opportunity.”

Agripina Macaroy, with nephew Lance: “We really had a great time exploring the Exploreum. It was so amazing and very educational. My nephew really loves Exploreum, especially the vintage cars that’s why he wishes to go back there again.”

26 August 2014

Lights up Sounds down in Pampanga

Children with autism are known to be sensitive to a variety of sensory stimuli; and because of this, most of them cannot enjoy some leisure and relaxation activities typical individuals do. One good example is movie-watching, most children with autism cannot get inside a movie house; and therefore cannot join their families and enjoy a good movie together. The darkness of the room, the loud sound, the required quietness while watching and the prolonged sitting can contribute to sensory overload, which may lead to tantrums.

SM Cares through SM City Pampanga hosted a SFM event entitled “Lights up Sound down” exclusively for children with autism and other disability last 30 July 2014, Wednesday, 10 in the morning at SM City Pampanga Cinema 3. The activity aims to provide children with autism a movie watching experience on a big screen inside a cinema that have been adapted to their sensory sensitivities together with other audience who can understand the shouting/crying and/or running of these children inside the room.

The event was attended by a total of 108 children with special needs along with their parents and caregivers from the members of ASP CSFP and Hagonoy Chapters, DepEd ALS-PWD learners from the Division of San Fernando and San Simon, Adelle Grace Montessori, Crownvale School and San Fernando Elementary School students with autism, along with other CWA from other towns of Pampanga.

Many children with autism who came are “first timers” and their parents were quite nervous about how their children will react. But it was such a great feeling to see these children and their families enjoy a movie together.

“Thank you for yesterday’s activity. You made the children so happy. They really enjoyed. Congratulations!”- Melissa Sanchez, DepEd ALS Coordinator, Division of San Fernando.
“Thank you, it was so much fun! Di ko expect kaya pala naming tapusin yung movie” – Mommy Malou Maniago, mother of Ericka, 5 yrs old with autism.
“Success! We were all happy, akala naming “wonderland” lang kami mga mommies kasi di naming expect na magtatagal sila sa loob. Expect the worst, hope for the best! Yahoo! Another milestone for the kids.”- Mommy Eugie Corpuz, mother of Bianca, 7yrs old with autism.
“It was a very fun experience for a big number of special ones as it allowed them to watch a full length movie wherein they can be themselves without excuse. They can stim out loud minus the comments. And they can easily walk away at scenes they don’t want to see without the odd reactions from the other viewers. But above it all, such a relief for all parents, guardians, family members, teachers who accompanied each kid as they also enjoyed the movie with emotional easiness.” -Mommy Wham Liang, mother of Josh, 5 yrs old with autism.

The Autism Society Philippines City of San Fernando Pampanga Chapter, with all the children with special needs and their families extend our warmest gratitude to SM Cares, through SM City Pampanga Management headed by Mr. Junias Eusebio and Anna Lisa Carino.

About the contributor. Joy Ofrecia is a mother of a teenage boy with autism. She has been a hands-on mother and for more than 10 years, has been implementing home intervention programs along with other school/center-based interventions for her own son and other children with autism. She has earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Angeles University Foundation. She conducts orientations and trainings to parents and professionals on autism. She is the current president of the Autism Society Philippines City of San Fernando Chapter. Teacher Joy finds her fulfilment in her role as an advocate of autism and an instrument to empowering parents of children with special needs.

23 August 2014

ASP hosts back to back seminars

The Autism Society Philippines hosted a back to back seminar on “The Miller Method Autism Intervention Program: Possibilities Put Into Practice” and “All You Need To Know About Autism” last 2 August 2014 at the Auditorium of Philippine Information Agency, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, attended by 53 participants composed of parents and professionals. The whole day event which featured two distinguished speakers.

The morning session on the Miller Method Autism Intervention Program was facilitated by Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo, an Assistant Professor from Lake University Orillia in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Mastrangelo emphasized that there is no single method of intervention for persons with autism. Dr. Mastrangelo utilized videos to explain the approach -- one of Dr. Arnold Miller applying the method to a child with autism was among them. She also had some interactive activities for the participants -- a movement exercise which simulated how a child with autism spectrum disorder perceived things. The exercise made participants feel how persons with autism may experience their environment; and simulating internal blocks which keep them from doing an action. Learning by experience and gross motor activities such as lifting and spinning are important parts of this approach. Dr. Mastrangelo the use of an Elevated Square, an elevated platform on which the therapy is conducted. Another key feature of the Miller method was having the parents be constantly involved. Dr. Mastrangelo mentioned that the parents are the first teachers of children. She said that a multidisciplinary team is important for the development of the child and in this team, the role of the family is very important. She recognized that therapists may come and go; but the family remains constant in the lives of children with autism.

Dr. Rita Grace R. Villadolid, a respected developmental pediatrician, discussed the history of autism, the development stages of typical children, the proper diagnostic process, and treatment programs. She mentioned that there is still no significant cause identified for autism, with genetic or environmental causes still inconclusive. Dr. Villadolid highlighted the main challenges that persons with autism experience which are in social interaction, communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. She shared early signs of autism in infants and that these development concerns usually come at 14 to 15 months after the birth of the child. She clarified some notions regarding autism, updating the audience on the official terms that are being used today by professionals. She also shared information regarding the population of persons of autism which was rising in number. Dr. Villadolid discussed different interventions -- medical, non-medical, or complimentary methods. Dr. Villadolid highlighted the significant role of an "A"-team -- doctors, therapists, teachers, family, and other important people who were part of the development of the child with autism.

Participants shared their thoughts about the seminar.

"We learned so much. The seminar has good value for money."

"There should be more of this type of seminar from Dr. Mastrangelo and about Miller Method."

"The Miller Method is an interesting topic -- how you communicate with a child with autism, their expressive language and problem solving. There's a lot of teaching strategies we approach with our students and this is very hopeful."

"Keep up the good work. Congratulations! For bringing the awareness to us as parents looking forward on your next seminar."

"The speaker was very knowledgeable about the topic."

"Very educational and enriching."

19 August 2014

ASP Valenzuela holds sensory-friendly movie

ASP Valenzuela Chapter and SM Center Valenzuela held a sensory-friendly movie screening last 5 August 2014 at Cinema 2. A total of 247 participants, 110 of whom were persons with autism, attended “Adventures of Zambezia”. According to ASP Valenzuela President, Dr. Nida Valeriano, as early as 9am SM Center Valenzuela allowed the viewers to enter the Cinema 2 for them to choose optimal seats. Children were allowed to explore the theatre before the movie started.

“Through their facial expressions and gestures, you can see that they enjoyed a lot. Parents, teachers and school administrators were all thankful. Many of them texted and called me, requesting for a repeat presentations. To sum up the response is very overwhelming,” Dr. Nida said.

The management of SM Center Valenzuela were all happy to the extent that everybody enjoyed watching the movie. They also provided 140 packs of free snacks for the children that were distributed while watching the movie. “Engr. Gats, the mall manager, told me that he will try his best to convince the management to make this a regular activity every quarter,” Dr. Nida added.

SM is holding a Sensory Friendly Movie nationwide in partnership with the Autism Society Philippines. ASP chapters and ASP institutional members interested in implementing sensory-friendly screenings may contact the ASP Office at +632.926.6921 for details.

18 August 2014

August 30 Saturday Back to Back Seminars

Emergency Skills For Families of PWAs
9:30am – 12:00pm

Does the threat of flood, earthquake and other natural disasters have you worried about your child with autism? The seminar will dive into the basics of what a family who lived with autism should do before, during and after emergency situations. Learn potentially life-saving techniques and skills; and create a plan that will keep your family safe.

Mark Anthony T. Padil is a graduate of BS Physical Therapy from Our Lady of Fatima University in 2002. He has worked as a Behavior Therapist ABA / VB - Shadow Teacher with individuals with autism in school, center and home-based environments. Teacher Mark assists in emergency and disaster alleviation efforts and in the promotion of public safety, disaster-preparedness and community service with the Regional Emergency Assistance Communications Team and with the CRS-AFP Civil Relations Service. He is founder of the eMergency Autism Response sKills (eMark) Services.

Music Therapy For Individuals With Autism
1:30 – 3:30pm

Studies reveal that most children, teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder respond positively to music -- making music a potentially powerful therapeutic tool. Music interventions used within a therapeutic relationship for individuals with ASD have encouraged social interactions, increased attention and communication attempts, reduced anxiety, and improved body coordination. Though well-established as an allied health profession in other countries, music therapy has yet to be better known in the Philippines as a therapeutic option, and thus our session speaker will enlighten us on what it is, why and how it works, why it is an art and science at the same time, how it is carried out and how it benefits individuals with special needs.

Ma. Solinda Garcia-Bautista is amongst the first batch of graduate students learning Music Therapy at the St. Paul University Manila College of Music and the Performing Arts, a Center of Excellence for Music pioneering Music Therapy programs in the Philippines starting 2013.  Sol concurrently gave chase to Business Administration and Accountancy at the University of the Philippines and Music at Sta. Isabel College. After delivering her piano graduation recital and garnering eighth place in the CPA boards, she plunged into an intense 28-year corporate career in Information Technology with top global firms. She helped transform businesses through technology as a consultant working locally and abroad, including mission-critical engagements in New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Hong Kong, and as a senior executive for a large global financial firm. Sol concertizes whenever time permits.

Single SeminarDouble Seminar
Pre-reg. *until Aug 27
ASP Member - P500.00
Non-Member - P600.00
Pre-reg. *until Aug 27
ASP Member - P   800.00
Non-Member - P1,000.00
On-Site Registration
ASP Member - P600.00
Non-Member - P700.00
On-Site Registration
ASP Member - P1,000.00
Non-Member - P1,200.00

Venue: Auditorium, 4th Floor Philippine Information Agency, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City.
Seminar Fee is inclusive of certificate, handouts and snacks.

Pre-registered participants may pay to Autism Society Philippines, Metro Bank, Kamias Branch Account Number 047-3-04751874-2. Please fax the deposit slip with the name/s of participant/s to ASP office 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 02-926-6941 or 02-929-8447.

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.

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