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.

19 December 2008

Touching Lives

There is a saying, "It's hard to get the first pickle out of a newly opened pickle bottle. But once you succeed in getting that first pickle out, the rest is easy." This is what I had in mind with this "unexpected" photo event by ASP.

What do I see in the near future? Photography, to be used as a tool for persons with autism. Exploring their world and capturing them in images for us to understand and appreciate them as being one of us, too.

As a photographer, I was able to share my experiences with children with autism. Through the images they capture with the simple camera, I was able to understand their world. They now have the tool to communicate with us.



In my brief encounter with Ian and his family, I began to rediscover the greatest love of a mother for her child. I saw how she patiently cared for Ian.
Surprisingly, during the photo shoot event with Mike, Geoffrey, Kevin, JR, Bryan, Budong, Seidji and the rest of the ASP children at Manila Zoo, I noticed great bonding between mother and child: looking for subjects or places to shoot, both eager to see what they have captured from the monitor.

I saw the joy in the eyes of the parents as they view the images taken by their children.

Indeed, photography can change lives, as I have experienced with Ian. People who used to avoid him at the Manila Yacht Club are now happy to see and interact with him, hoping that Ian could take their pictures and get published in the newspaper. Ian is more confident now as he sees what he can do for others.

Pictures are the best thing that ever happened to him. He, too, can do something people would appreciate. Even Ian's mom Angie, has started to learn photography with beautiful images to show.

With this in mind, I would like to see ASP undertake this kind of activity. The best possible outcome would be a closer bonding with the parents and their children and encourage public awareness of the ASP activities. I am willing to take the first step in this journey with you.


About the contributor. John K. Chua is an advertising photographer in the Philippines with more than 30 years experience in aerial, car, product, food, special effects and model photography. John and his wife Harvey are the founded Adphoto in 1978. He is also the spirit behind “Photography with a Difference”, a movement which has captured the lives of families and children with disabilities.

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