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.

12 August 2010

Looking In… from the outside

By: Von Kaizer

I may not be the most suitable guy to write this down and everything, but over the years, I had several encounters with people blessed by God, with what people call AUTISM. No, I don’t have autism. I‘m just your “run-off-the-mill”, graduating high school student; who also happens to be an aspiring medical practitioner.

My school is just a small triangle, squeezed between three buildings. On a daily basis, I am lucky enough to be in a position where I could meet students from every level, including those with special needs. In our school, the teachers of “normal” and “special” students are just the same. Special needs students are gradually integrated into the regular curriculum, upon appropriate recommendation of a practicing psychologist.

The students with autism overcome occasional tantrums and learning deficiencies with sheer patience and understanding. It just turns out, more often than not, their academic performances, are plain indistinguishable. I’ve always wondered how they do it.

Now let’s get to the point before I draw circles.

Actually, I’ve always wondered what sets them apart. Is it the lack of communication? Or is it the isolated social life? Or the over-simplified thought processes? Either way, they don’t seem to have a problem.

It’s actually us, the “regular townspeople,” that have a problem. Why? Because we, cannot communicate with them or put them in our own “controllable” state. So, in order for them to be productive members of society, we let them undergo intensive psychological and drug therapies.

What if, we just take a moment and put ourselves in their shoes, what would we learn? I’m guessing they’re looking at us just like the way we look at them. It’s not that I’m against treating autism, but we should start treating and integrating them into our “normal” society and stop treating them as people who need extra-support to survive in this fast paced world.

In a medical sense, most medical researchers focus on how to prevent autism in pregnancy or how to treat autism’s symptoms at an early age and let them be “normal” later on. How about we start taking a different approach? How about we start recognizing and developing the things they capable of doing and achieving? In plain English, how about we help them use their autism as a tool, as an asset, not a liability?

People say they cannot think properly because they lack common sense or the other thought processes that we possess, I don’t know. Maybe our instinct to traditional schools of thought processes, logical reasoning and common sense blocks us from achieving something than their liberated minds could. For me, they are just crates of potential that only requires a key to open and be something- that in our terms: “be useful”.

Fine, I know you’re getting tired of my opinions and everything, but we should try this: What do we have that they have? Many people would say, the number doesn’t even surpass the fingers. I’ve also thought about that.

Prototype poster of Signs and Symptoms of Autism donated by Manila Jaycees

One Sunday morning, I saw a poster in a local church that happily accepts people with special needs. A poster near the library says: “Signs of Autism”. There are at least 10-15 signs written there, and I agreed to around 8 or 9. I just thought, Am I autistic? No, I’m not. But we do have a lot in common with them. Most people can’t accept it easily because we’d like to maintain the belief that we were made defect-free and they are just not up to par with our standards. Try reflecting on it and you’ll get what I mean.

The last 600 words or so is just a small fragment of what’s in my mind about the blessed people, especially when I learned and I saw with my own four eyes what they are capable of. Translation: This is just an opinion, it may conflict with other people’s views and I will respect them, just as they respect mine. Remember, I’m just a 15 year-old student, I still have a whole lot to learn but I’ll always believe that they are bound for something higher than the therapist’s office.

Von Kaizer is a pen name used by the author. He is currently a graduating student of Philadelphia High School. The author sent this article via email as a result of his exposure to students with autism and his personal encounters with them. It is our hope that young minds will help us change our own perceptions of what autism is.

Are you an Angel for Autism? Send us your stories. Email us at or call us at 7-903-5496. Visit our community site at


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