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.

04 April 2011

Straight from the mouth of a person with autism

By DANG U. KOE, ASP Chair Emeritus

MANILA, Philippines – Last April 2, Autism Society Philippines took the lead in celebrating the 4th World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) through activities such as walks, talent shows, seminars, photo and painting exhibits, etc. This was made possible through ASP’s 47 chapters supported by SM Malls around the country.


The WAAD website estimates that one percent of the world’s population, or 69 million people are on the autism spectrum. According to the National Statistics Office, the estimated 2010 Philippine population is 92.23 million. So, we have almost a million Filipinos dealing with autism?


To hear from one of those one million Filipinos with autism, our Angel Talker this week is David Michael Lopez. Kitt, as he is fondly called, graduated Bachelor of Arts in Communication at the Lyceum Institute of Technology, Makiling, Calamba City. He now works in ASP Laguna’s Autism Resource Center as an apprentice and is a regular contributor to ASP’s e-newsletter.


David Michael Lopez works as a chat marketing agent

and is a regular contributor of ASP's e-newsletter.


*****


HOW IS IT BEING A PERSON WITH AUTISM?

Being a person with autism, I found it hard to make people understand me. I wanted to communicate, that’s why I took up a degree in Communication.


I survived college by earning high marks on all the subjects I took up after four years.


WHAT KEEPS YOU BUSY?

I had a job as a chat marketing agent selling memberships to clients overseas. But I resigned because I did not reach the quota and did not generate high sales.


I am currently working as an apprentice at Autism Resource Center, Intan Street, Santa Fe Subdivision, Barangay Batong Malake, Los Baños, Laguna. The Sanggunian Bayan has banned the use of plastic bags as packing materials for dry and wet goods. Since Los Baños is known to be a “plastic free” community. I help in paper bag making. I also receive profit sharing in all the services, like photocopying, typing, ring binding, and laminating, among others.

My profit sharing is inconsistent because it depends on the communities that avail the services. I work part-time at Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish, on Monday afternoons and receive a small allowance. Hopefully, I will find a stable job in the next five years and become more independent from my parents.


WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS? HOW WILL YOU ACHIEVE THESE?

I want to be the best employee by meeting the deadlines and doing well. I also have to manage my time properly in all the activities I am doing, especially in going to the office and back home on time. I can secure a bright future if I become more productive in the workplace.


I aspire to become a successful entrepreneur.


ARE YOU SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT GIRL? DO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED AND RAISE A FAMILY OF YOUR OWN?

In 2007, I had a girlfriend named Rose. We dated by going around places in her hometown in Batangas. Once we went to a mall, watched a movie, ate at a cafeteria, but paid separately. We later broke up because she was too busy with her studies.


I am not looking for a girlfriend, yet. Right now my priorities are work-related. I need to become financially capable first. I also keep myself fit by participating in the sports programs. When I have my own family, I want to give my children good education and teach them good values.


WHAT IS THE GREATEST OBSTACLE OF BEING AN ADULT WITH AUTISM?

One of the greatest obstacles is demonstrating appropriate behavior. (May I suggest to all persons with autism to control inappropriate gestures). I also have to improve my personality, learn to deal with different people, distinguish/discern right from wrong, and have the right work attitude. These are some of the obstacles I have to overcome before achieving all the goals I want to fulfill in life. I should also try to become a role model to younger children with autism.


WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE CURRENT AUTISM BILLS FILED IN THE SENATE?

They will help formulate and carry out an integrated and widespread master plan on autism; generate an investigative, therapeutic and rehabilitation clinic; recommend occupational training programs for autistic adults; and provide complimentary diagnosis and rehabilitation services to impoverished autistic individuals.


WHICH OF THOSE BILLS DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE BEST TO HELP PWAs AND THEIR FAMILIES AND WHY?

Senate Bill 1626 or The Autism Prevention, Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Treatment Act. This is because it will help families become more aware of autism and know how to take care of their children on their early childhood years. When he/she is early diagnosed with autism, parents will help their children survive, learn how to behave, and teach them how to become role models in society.


WILL THE FUTURE BE BRIGHT FOR PERSONS WITH AUTISM?

For parents of children with autism, please do not lose hope, I know not everybody can be like me, but in their own time, they too can duplicate what I have achieved. Persons with autism will have a bright future if they strive hard in their studies, learn to be obedient to superiors, and become more productive. The future will be hard for us, but together, we will continue walking those steps.


World Autism Awareness Day is a UN resolution that brought to autism to the world’s attention.


The WAAD resolution encourages all UN Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention.


It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges. The UN acknowledges that AUTISM is a growing global health crisis.


Uploaded with Permission
Acknowledgment to Manila Bulletin: Straight from the mouth of a person with autism

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

am so proud of you kits classmate ko yan!

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