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.

08 July 2010

Autism is not a Tragedy

By: Anthea Carmeli I. Peña, ASP Bacoor Chapter

Normally, teenagers like me would blithely spend most of their weekends doing their own things, as carefree as their easy lives would allow them to be. But how would it be, if they have a sibling with autism? I’m sure it would be a lot different.

It’s a fun adventure, with lots of lessons and experiences far different from the average stuff. Why do I say this? I myself have a brother with autism, and I’d love to share a portion of how it’s like.

Since I was young, I have been exposed to different programs and seminars my mother attended. At first, it was nothing to me, until eventually I realized that all those seminars would do so much for me as well. I also joined sibling support groups and met people who understood me, because in the first place, it is never close to easy. It involves a lot of sacrifices on my part.

With my brother Muneer, I have to be patient at all times. I have to learn to forget myself sometimes, just to take care of him. There was an instance wherein I actually spent my birthday accompanying him to his school’s sport’s fest.

Thea with brother Muneer

It is also hard to endure simple things like having to be in the picture- when he starts to go hyper in public places; when he grabs food; when he does things that would catch other’s attention. But, I promised myself that I would defend him when someone would make fun of him or say something negative about him.

I believe that because of Muneer, I became a stronger person. And not just that, I feel that he contributed to a sense of direction in my life. I have decided that as soon as I graduate high school, I’ll be taking up Special Education as my college course. Then, I could dedicate my full time to my brother and also to other persons with disabilities.

I am positive that God has given Muneer to me and my family for the better. To others it may seem unfortunate, but for us and for me this is the “ideal family”. I am blessed to have him with us, because for me, Muneer is all a part of the fight that we will soon be winning together; with those who care a lot for people like my brother and were never discouraged by the different faces of hardships.

Thea with brothers Muneer (left) and Millie (right) and
mom Jan Peña, ASP Bacoor Chapter President

To other people like me who are blessed to have PWD’s as siblings, my advice is to never look at autism as a tragedy or misfortune. But instead, focus on how autism can turn you into a better, caring person. Autism can serve as an inspiration for you to enlighten others.

Anthea Carmeli I. Peña is 16 yrs-old, and a 4th year high school student at Divine Light Academy, Molino 3, Bacoor, Cavite. She is the older sister of Muneer Peña, 14-yr. old boy with autism. Anthea is also a passionate artist.


Joselyn Galazan-Dalmacio said...

Hi Thea...Im sure you parents are so proud of you and your brother muneer is so lucky to have you as a sister..i just wish that may daughter Gwen(3yrs old) will be like you when she grows up,,her brother GBOY(6yrs old) has autism! GodBless you and your Family

Unknown said...

I can't control my tears while reading this. Being a mom an autistic boy I hope his younger brother will also help my eldest and accept him as what he is . Having an autistic child made me stronger everyday fight and determined for all my goals

Unknown said...

hi mommy joselyn and mommy ella! thanks so much, this is mommy jan! our journey with muneer has taken us very far, this i had not expected. but this i had learned and kept in my heart... the secret is not to look at our own world and linger therein...look out and extend ourselves so that our children will do the same...let's all have a happy and meaningful journey!

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