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.

26 October 2014

The ASP General Assembly -- a community, a family

The General Assembly of the Autism Society Philippines convened at the MERALCO Multi-Purpose Hall on 25 October 2014 at 1pm. Members and chapter leaders arrived from all over the country -- from San Fernando, La Union to Naga, Camarines Sur.

The event kicked off with an ice breaker from the gracious duo of Trustees Grace Adviento and Peng So. Jan Peňa, our outgoing President recounted what our advocacy has accomplished over the last two years -- our reasons to celebrate -- and what we continue to aspire for. Treasurer Evelyn Go -- our “ingat-yaman” -- reported on the society’s financial standing. 

Election Committee Chair Ranil Sorongon facilitated the pre-election and asked the confirmed candidates to introduce themselves and to share how they wanted to contribute to the organization. Memorable was an emotional speech from Grace Adviento who shared that service to ASP is difficult, time-consuming work; and while most of the veteran trustees would like to “rest” from service, they cannot do so until the next generation of leaders step up to contribute to the advocacy.

Secretary Mona Magno-Veluz read provisions from the by-laws and declared a quorum to kick off the elections. For the first time in the association's history, ASP honored on-line votes from members outside the National Capital Region.

During the tabulation of votes, a Town Hall meeting was moderated by Chair Emeritus Dang Koe and opened the floor to comments, suggestions and requests.
- Anawi Tolentino requested for a toolkit which advocates can use in sensitivity training in universities
- Grace Corpuz shared that many chapter members are willing to be trained to assist in ASP National projects
-Mona Veluz asked the self advocates present at the assembly, how ASP can help make their lives better and what activity or project would make them happy.
..... Carl - wants to have an ASP prom in February for adults
..... Gerard - wants self-advocates to be represented in the board
..... Danmar - wants help to work in the National Historical Commission
..... Lloyd - wants to have more fun socialization
..... Angelo - loves food
..... Kevin - wants to work in a grocery
..... Alvin - wants to play basketball
..... Paolo - wants improved sibling workshops
..... Christian - wants to be a grocery manager
- Ranil shared that the next ASEAN Autism Network meeting will be in Malaysia in 2015 and would like to ask for help from ASP to help prepare our delegation for the Autism Olympics and the Conference.
The general assembly ratified the proposed ASP By-Laws by a landslide.  The nine newly-elected ASP trustees met after the assembly to vote on the Autism Society Philippines’ officers for 2014 - 2016. Congratulations to all those who have been called to serve -- and may your leadership bring ASP to loftier heights. Read more about them here.
Mona Magno-Veluz, President
Alejandro Cabason, Vice-President
Cecile Sicam, Secretary
Evelyn Go, Treasurer
Perlita So, Auditor
Mary Grace Adviento, Trustee
Carmel Almendrala, Trustee
Mary Janette Pena, Trustee
Ma. Victoria Ramos, Trustee
Erlinda Koe, Chair Emeritus

According to the ASP Policy 14-0033 on Organization Design, Item In the event of board vacancy, the Board of Trustees will nominate candidates from the pool of active members who meet the criteria for ASP Trustees and will collectively decide who among the nominees shall fill up the board vacancy. This decision will be made over the next few weeks.

25 October 2014

Carmel Almendrala leads ASP’s October FSG

ASP Trustee Carmel Almendrala welcomed eight parents to the ASP monthly family support group on 18 October 2014. 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.

One non-ASP partipant said, “Having a child with autism is not hard as I thought it is. That there are other families that can help and assist. That there many ways to. I need to learn more strategies to explore abilities of my child. I’m blessed to join and know more about this group.”

To explore the many ways you can help your child with autism, join the Autism Society Philippines. 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. More at

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 Program Assistant for Communications.

24 October 2014

Meet the Candidates

The Autism Society Philippines will be electing its next batch of trustees this 25 October 2014, Saturday.  The Election Committee is composed of Mr. Ranil Sorongon (Elecom Chair), Ms. Cathy Tañedo (Elecom Vice-Chair), Ms. Ida Blasco, Ms. Carla Dizon and Mr. Lloyd Ngo. Ranil and Cathy have both served as ASP Executive Directors.

Fifteen (15) nominees were evaluated by the Election Committee for the criteria set in the ASP Operations Manual. While some were not qualified, others did not accept the nomination. As of today, the Elecom has confirmed the final nine (9) candidates.

According to the ASP Policy 14-0033 on Organization Design, Item In the event of board vacancy, the Board of Trustees will nominate candidates from the pool of active members who meet the criteria for ASP Trustees and will collectively decide who among the nominees shall fill up the board vacancy.

Meet the candidates for the ASP Board of Trustees 2014-2016.

Adviento, Mary Grace (ASP National). A physical therapist by training but a copy center entrepreneur by profession, Grace is mother to CWA Adrian. Her down-to-earth and magnetic appeal makes her one of the best facilitators of Early Detection and Intervention Program and SM Autism Orientation. Grace is “face of ASP mom.” She brings encouragement to mothers that life with autism can be exciting, giving smiles of hope to other families. Grace has contributed to ASP in multiple capacities, most significantly as ASP’s President from 2010-2012.

Almendrala, Carmelita (ASP National). 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 six 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 powerlifting 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.

Cabason, Alejando (ASP Marikina). Alex is a graduate of AB Political Science from the University of the East Manila and of MA in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines Diliman. This public servant, church worker and a motivational speaker is happily married with four children. His youngest child, Victor Lorenzo or Vinz is on the spectrum. An ardent advocate of autism education since 2002, he is the President of ASP Marikina Valley Chapter.

Evelyn and Gelo
Go, Evelyn (ASP National). Evelyn juggled between managing her business and taking up Special Education in UP Diliman to help her son, Gelo. “This disability (autism) will be a life long challenge our family has to face. I accepted this and learned to cope.” With her no-non-sense financial management skills and business instincts, Evelyn has been a valued ASP Trustee, serving as the organization's Treasurer for multiple terms.

Peña, Mary Janette (ASP Bacoor). She is the current President of ASP National. She was the former President of ASP Bacoor, Cavite chapter and is fondly called the “Gobernadora of ASP Cavite Chapter”. Jan is one of the movers behind the meteoric rise in the numbers of ASP chapters nationwide. Her exemplary efforts have gathered hundreds of members from Cavite alone. Tita Jan and Al, her supportive husband and overseas Filipino worker in the Middle East, are doting parents to her three children, Thea, Muneer (an adolescent with autism) and Milli.

Marivic (right)
Ramos, Ma. Victoria (ASP Laguna). Marivic currently serves as the Vice-President of ASP Laguna. Marivic is a pillar of the autism advocacy community in Los Baños, immersing herself in special education and training and empowerment programs over the years. As an ASP delegate, she was elected to the board of the Philippine Community Based Disability Inclusive Development Network. She is a single mother to a 22 years old young adult with autism, Victor Michael "Mico" Ramos.

Sicam, Cecilia (ASP National). She 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 Santa Clara, California; and came back to serve Filipino children with special needs. Her adult son is employed full time as R & B Ice Plant.

So, Perlita (ASP National). Peng juggles between being a full-time, hands-on-mom to her two gems on the spectrum, Patrick and Angelo; and, with her husband, empowering her other adult children in handling the family business. Peng has inspired many with her fortitude in guiding Patrick (who recently graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University) and Angelo (who undergoes functional life skills and pre-vocational training). By a fortunate stroke of serendipity, Peng was introduced to ASP and autism advocacy; and she has never looked back. Advocating for autism acceptance and inclusion has become a part of her daily agenda. She inspires others to think beyond the autism diagnosis and to enrich the lives of children with autism by gifting them with valuable life experiences.

Veluz, Mona (ASP National). Mona received degrees in Business Administration, Applied Economics and Strategic Marketing from the University of the Philippines, University of Asia and the Pacific and the London School of Business. As a practicing marketing communications professional, she has held various global management roles in the technology industry. Mona is a wife and a mom to three kids. Her eldest is PWA Carl, a young man working in their family business. She is currently serving as the National Secretary of the Autism Society Philippines.

23 October 2014

Non-NCR ASP Members may vote on-line

The ASP National Office recognizes the growing number of provincial chapters. Members from provincial chapters are often unable to participate in ASP National General Assemblies and Elections because of geographical distance and personal expense necessary to make a trip to Manila. The Board of Trustees recognized that many modern technological advances may help solve the difficulties of our members in provincial areas to engage with ASP National.

By virtue of Board Resolution Number 14-0069, dated 19 May 2014, the Autism Society Philippines will utilize digital technology to allow current members in the provincial areas to exercise their right to vote in ASP National elections. Communications with members, broadcasting the general assembly and voting for trustees may also be conducted through secure suitable digital technologies.

Members from the National Capital Region are NOT eligible for on-line or distance voting; because their presence in a critical meeting such as a National General Assembly is a basic member responsibility. Any votes received from a member from NCR will NOT be counted by the Election Committee.

If you are an updated member living outside Metro Manila, you may cast your vote on 24 October 2014, Friday between 1pm and 9pm.

11 October 2014

ASP joins SPU in Launch of Music Therapy Center

The Autism Society Philippines was represented by Ms. Cecile Sicam, ASP Trustee at the launnch of the Music Therapy Program at St. Paul University Manila last 10 October 2014. She was joined by other esteemed educators who witnessed the ribbon-cutting, a survey of the facilities and a lecture-demo.

St. Paul’s University Manila boasts that this is “the first Music Therapy Center in the Philippines, which will provide music therapy services for differently challenged children, adolescents, and adults. As with all music therapy sessions, the goals of the music therapy offered in the Center depend on the needs, abilities, and challenges of the clients. They can range from increased mobility to improved communication skills, to reduced anxiety or exploring personal issues. Through music therapy’s well planned, professional, and skillful use of music, St. Paul University Manila hopes to help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities of various kinds and to help children with developmental disabilities to reach their highest potentials.”

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