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.

28 September 2009

Escaping Bullies, Meeting Girls and Acing Quiz Bee

By: Patrick Louie So, teen with autism

Patrick Louie is the son of Rey and Perlita So (Board of Trustee). The essay below was written as a requirement for his college entrance application.

Mr. Patrick So

Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) is also described by some as “a dash of autism.” People with AS are also known as “Aspies.” They have normal to high intelligence and language development but they find social situations and personal relationships challenging. Aspies are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs, although they may continue to need encouragement and moral support to maintain an independent life.

It’s not easy to be me. I have Asperger’s Syndrome and AD/HD. This double whammy makes it hard for me to control my actions and prevents me from implementing my plans - like sleeping early and moderating my computer usage. I have no cell phone, which means that I have no social life outside school, and whatever social life I have isn’t much.

By the time I finished second year high in PAREF-Northfield (all-boys school), I had the urge to be in a co-ed. On the way home, I would pass by several school girls decked in an array of uniforms walking by. I had a crush on almost every one. I wanted to take a year-long absence to escape the bullies and socialize with girls. And, I did just that. Sadly, I only had eleven female classmates out of a class of thirty-six, but that was better than nothing.

While I was studying in the co-ed school, I was invited to participate in Quiz Bee. This was about biotechnology, which, I only had a stock knowledge at that time. It was going to be difficult, I was told. I deserted the team several times, was often distracted and would read unrelated materials during training practices. But eventually overcame these setbacks and stayed on with the team.

When contest day came, I calmly answered the qualifying exam. Our team was deemed unlikely to win because we were “only” sixth in the top qualifiers. Most were science high schools. But, I felt optimistic. I relatively acing through the questions that bombarded us. After the results came, I jumped up and down for joy. I finally have proven myself.

But the same setbacks I faced previously came back. I missed out some of my lessons, too. Not only that, I had been losing my sheen. In addition, I became slightly lazy over time and I didn’t think it was important for us to win anymore. As a result, that made an impact in our performance in the finals. Those fears were allayed in the finals because we emerged the winners and the representatives of the NCR to National Biotech Quizbee!!!

In the televised National Biotech Quiz hosted by Mr. David Celdran, twelve teams that were chosen from 150 different schools vied for the trophy. In the finals, Laguna College swept through the questions, which made it impossible for us to win, and St. Joseph’s of Naga correctly answered all the questions that we did plus one more. We ended up only Third Place, but it was not bad for a first-timer especially when the opponents had been relatively grizzled and experienced.

I really enjoyed and learned so much from the experience. It was all worth it. I had bucked the odds and learned that practice makes perfect. Before, I expected myself to be a champion without having to review (I was the MVP in two inter-school math quiz bees that I participated in when I was a sophomore), but after the shock loss in a science quiz bee, I’ve accepted that I needed training to truly succeed. Second, I learned that I could still bounce back and win even if I knew the opponents were tough and that we were behind. Finally, even though I was born with Autism and ADHD and was twice declined admission to pre-school, I realized that I can still shine. BE THE BEST THAT I CAN BE and win over neurologically typical peers.

Patrick So is currently enrolled in Ateneo University, taking up BS Life Science. He plans to pursue a degree in Molecular Biology in the future.


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