The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

04 August 2009

Autism is Tough, but Don’t Give Up.

By Tiffany Tan ASP Board Secretary

Braving the heavy rain and nursing a fever, ASP Trustee Ging Viado and her dedicated sister traveled all the way from Laguna to Quezon City to facilitate July 18’s family support group.

Ging has earned units in Masters in Special Education (SPED) at the Philippine Normal University, had numerous trainings in the field of SPED both here and abroad. Hoping to extend services in Laguna and nearby municipalities she opened GS Option House for Autism and Related Disorders, in Biñan.

Teacher Ging (in violet) and Mom Tiffany (in green) listen to the
concerns of the participants in July 18 Family Support Group

Waiting eagerly at the office were a mother, a caregiver, 2 sets of parents with their special children. Teacher Ging began testifying her life as a mother to Sarah Gay or Gigi, now a young adult at 23, and the different encounters of being a special education teacher.

Teacher Ging has this nugget of advice to parents of newly diagnosed children with autism: “Dreams are often shelved. It’s really hard. But eventually, we must come to terms with the child’s diagnosis, and go beyond the “labeling” to address the child’s needs.”

The participants’ needs were varied as they talked of the difference concerns from the long cue of setting doctor appointments, to disclosure of the diagnosis, to the older child with autism when his self-awareness starts to kick in. But the most heated topic was looking for services for children with autism. Based on her many years of teaching experience, she reiterated the importance of early intervention of children with autism, and having a continuing program even from adolescence through adulthood.

Although our public school system accepts children with disabilities into the system, the child is only accepted upon reaching 5 years old. Ging advised the parents to do their own research, to spend more time with their children, enroll them in appropriate therapy sessions and to work closely with professionals.
“But when does intervention stop since autism is lifetime?” came the echo of one frustrated parent. Teacher Ging drank a the cup of water and gave the best answer to this often heard and difficult question.

“Autism is often compared to a puzzle. The challenge is to make the puzzle complete. We have to fit in the puzzle pieces. If one piece or a few pieces are missing, we should help fill in the gaps. It is vital that we have commitment and the correct intervention or treatment. There is no one sure formula for autism. The key is to help the child become the best that he can be.”

Being equipped parents is also essential in helping the child with autism. ASP has designed monthly seminars to give parents options on various treatment options and approaches. They were all encouraged to keep abreast with the latest news on autism by reading books at the ASP library. ASP members also received the almost daily newsletters on the latest autism news, stories and different activities. They were also encouraged to become advocates.

“We must not view autism as a burden, but rather, a challenge, a test of our endurance. Autism also affects the whole family, but, because of autism, the family learns to be more patient, and become stronger,” concluded Ging.

By 5:00pm, the rains had stopped. The parents went home. Ging called her husband on the phone and proceeded to finish her unopened lunch. Autism toughens up mothers. Autism drives parents to do the impossible. Don’t give up.

Sign up now for the next family support group on August 22, 2009 at 1-5pm. Share your hopes and dreams with us. We will listen.


Mariapaz said...

God bless you in your endevour.

Just continue what God has entrusted you.

Faint not.

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