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.

09 September 2010

Special child wins best image in photo contest

When the best picture for the whole-day Baguio photowalk was announced, some in the audience were caught by surprise that the photograph was taken by a 14-year-old boy living with autism.

“We are very proud of him and maybe this is the way to show everybody that special children have talents and they can live a happy and productive life if given a chance and care,” were the words of Jenny Gundran after her son, Onel, was recognized for having the best photograph in the friendly competition.

Ompong Tan (Baguio Photographers Club), Organizer of Baguio101,
Onel Gundran, Councilor Elmer Datuin ( Committee for Tourism)

Onel is a youth living with autism but with proper care and understanding from his parents, he is trying to live a normal life. He is currently a freshman at the Pines Montessori.

His winning photograph is all about towering pine trees enveloped with fog taken at the Botanical Garden and Baguio Centennial Park. Onel also took photographs at Wright Park, Pacdal Circle, and The Mansion.

his winning photo about Towering Pine Trees enveloped with fog.
Inset is the photographer Onel Gundran, a 14 year old, a PWA

It was two years ago when photography was introduced to Onel and more than a dozen individuals living autism when the Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP) through master photographer John Chua tapped seasoned photographer Rodolfo “Ompong” Tan and his colleagues to organize a photography seminar workshop for people with autism.

The first photography seminar workshop was held in a farm in La Trinidad, Benguet and the latest was held at the Baguio Botanical Garden.

Onel was mentored by Martin Valeriano and Abel Baldemor, both members of the Baguio Photographers Club.

The photographs taken by people with autism during the two separate seminar workshops were exhibited at SM City Baguio.

Following Onel’s accomplishment, his mother said that parents with an autistic child should look for the skills and strength of their child.

ASP said that autism is a neurological disorder that hinders information processing often causing problems in communication, learning, and behavior. Often cha racterized with social withdrawal and odd behavior, those affected have been found to have outstanding abilities in math, arts, and music given the proper exposure, guidance, and opportunities.

During the National Autism Consciousness Week a few months ago, ASP called on the society to provide understanding and opportunities for people with autism. Understanding means creating a culture of caring, sympathy, and acceptance for children and adults with autism.

Post with Permission
By Harley Palangchao, Baguio Midland Courier


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