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.

18 February 2010

Love Conquers All

An inspiring story of a father’s love and sacrifice for his daughter with autism.


Mae Mae was diagnosed with autism at age 2½ years old. As ordinary parents, Evert and Apple Malapad were shocked to hear from what was being said by the doctor about their daughter’s condition. They sought a second opinion. The verdict was the same.


Knowing only a little information on autism, both decided to seek help by attending a Family Support Group in ASP’s Office at Quezon City.


The family budget took a toll on addressing Mae-Mae’s schooling and therapy in the next four years. With both Evert and Apple working, they resolved to make her a priority by adjusting their expenditures.


One Christmas, we had to forgo upgrading our cellphones and buying new clothes. We were able to save some money for her therapy,” Evert shared.


ASP Metro South Chapter President, Mr. Evert Malapad and daughter Mae-mae


Drastic move


Another visit to the doctor for assessment came. Mae-Mae’s progress was quite slow. In order to catch up on the goals set for her, aside from the therapy; the doctor recommended a tailor-made home program.


“How do I go from being in car repairs to teaching a special child? On my mind were car spare parts. Now, the challenge is how to teach my daughter to identify the color red.”


Evert then, was working as a senior technician and managing two auto repair shops; while supervising 5 skilled technicians. On top of the situation, their house hold helper left after staying only with them for three months. To hire another one will take so much time and effort in training. The decision didn’t take long for Evert to make. He quit his high paying job to concentrate on Mae-Mae.


“Those three months were the toughest. It was a huge struggle for me, but I knew I had to equip myself to meet her needs. I started attending ASP seminars every month and gained techniques and strategies for Mae-Mae’s home program. “


According to Evert, the implementation constituted a lot of determination and sacrifice. Within two years, they provided her with six programs.


Life Endangered


One of the six programs was community integration. The family wanted to include Mae-Mae in their Sunday Worship. Evert decided to have a desensitization program for her, so he prepared Mae-Mae, and drove to the nearby church to make her get familiarized with the church surroundings.


“When Mae-Mae started having tantrums, I quickly carried her to the car. The incident almost cost me my life, when a subdivision security guard was about to grab his service pistol to stop me. He thought that I was a kidnapper! Whew!”


Shifting Gears


Three years went by and Mae-Mae showed a remarkable improvement in her behavior, communication and social skills. “I learned to be patient and consistent. And the whole experience of implementing the programs not only benefited me, but the whole family.”


Evert shifted his gears from car repairs to writing his masteral thesis in Special Education. He presently handles an adult special needs program in a special school in Las Piñas. On top of his new carrier, Evert serves as President of ASP Metro-South and ASP National Trustee.


“Mae-Mae became a teacher to us. If not for her, we will not be advocates of special children. We would not have become trainers to other parents of children with autism. Mae-Mae brings us to many places – to lectures, to share and bring hope to other parents. And more importantly, Mae-Mae has taught us- love conquers all.”


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February is the love month. Show you care for people in the spectrum. To request for Lectures and Seminars for parents of CWA or for community workers, write to autismphil@pldtdsl.net or call at 9266941.

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