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.

02 August 2010

The AdvoKOEcy KOEntinues

By: Cathy Genovia

“mga ka-chap, salamat, salamat ... really touched with your messages. for those who were able to go to my KOEpitan's wake...maraming salamat. i know it was not easy for you coming all the way from your far-flung areas. sabi ni Ranil, para daw KOEncert ang wake ni Joe, with PWAs singing :) he would have applauded. so, now let's KOEntinue the advoKOEcy :)”


ASP Chair Emeritus, Dang Koe, posted this message to Chapter Leaders just after the burial of her late husband, Joe, who succumbed to cancer. Staying true to her message (so let’s now KOEntinue the advoKOEcy), Dang traveled one and a half hour to St. Therese of the Child Jesus Special Learning and Development Center, Batangas City for her first mission last July 17. Together with her are Gio, her 16 year-old son with autism and his caregiver.


Sixty-Five (65) participants composed of parents, Special Education and Regular Teachers from public and private schools and college students from local universities attended the seminar entitled “Embracing Special Differences (An Awareness Seminar on Children with Special Needs)”. Click here to read related news.


ASP Chair Emeritus Dang Koe (4th from left) with son Gio (5th from left)
with the participants of the said seminar at
St Therese of the Child Jesus Special Learning and Development Center, Batangas City

KOEping with Autism

Dang was asked to talk about “Understanding Autism: A Parent’s Success Story in Managing a Child with Autism”. But she changed the title to “KOEping with Autism”. (Dang is fond fusing her surname “KOE” into verbs and adjectives, which she said, is her way of connecting with the audience.)


Dang emphasized that children with autism learn in different ways, since autism after all is a spectrum disorder. She also reminded parents to provide different opportunities, such as therapy or developing their skills fullest potential. Although Gio has limited speech, cannot read or write, he however, is functional at home. He helps out with daily household chores and occasionally makes arts and crafts projects, like decorated picture frames during his spare time. Gio has been a constant inspiration that propels Dang to be a passionate advocate for autism and their families.


KOEmendable Tribute

During the entire talk, ASP-Batangas Vice President, Ms. Raceli de Castro and I remained teary eyed, as many people in the said seminar were unaware of her husband’s passing. We knew how difficult she might have felt as she mentioned her husband Joe and paused in between her talk. But she just kept going. She remains the effective, great speaker that I know. People still were all very attentive as she shared their family’s journey with autism.


She finally revealed to the participants at the end of her talk that she is now a “biyuda” (widow). As a tribute to Joe, “A Special Papa,” AVP was presented to audience. Joe was seen flapping his hands, when Gio flapped his; he pretended to cry, when Gio cried; and he embraced his autism with all the love a father can give. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.


Supposedly, an open forum was scheduled at 2PM. But because of NDPR Week Celebrations, Dang Koe requested to have the open forum right after her talk. The audience didn’t ask her any questions, as her family’s journey spoke volumes. Instead, those who stood up to speak offered kind words of encouragement for her.


The Batangas trip was indeed KOEping with Autism. Families go through a lot of challenges and obstacles, but ultimately, bravery and perseverance are reminders for us, that the autism advoKOEcy must KOEntinue.

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ASP works harder to keep the flame of advocacy alive. If you are blessed by this article, don’t stop there. Tell others.Be pro-active. Be an Angel for autism. Donate to ASP and help continue the advocacy. Log on to ASP Community Website or email us at autismphil@pldtdsl.net or call 9266941 / 9298447.

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