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.

27 June 2011

The 2nd ASP Cavite Chapters Siblings’ Camp

By: Teacher Kismette J. Cepe, ASP Bacoor Chapter

ASP Cavite Chapters, headed by its dynamic governor, Ms. Jan Peña, continued the tradition of having a Siblings Camp, yearly. A recently one, entitled “3Es for CWAs” (Enjoy, Educate, Empower) was held for seven siblings of children with autism on June 3-4, 2011 at Kubo Camp for Christ in Silang, Cavite for an overnight of fun, sharing and learning.


ASP Bacoor Chapter President Jan Peña and Sibshop Facililator My Sorongon


At Kubo Camp for Christ, one gets to feel going back to the basics of the Filipino way of life. Several kubos, the Filipino word for nipa hut, serve as sleeping quarters for campers. Inside the kubos are double decks of beds also made of bamboos. Fresh air fills the room from the two windows and open space in between the ceiling.


Parents personally brought children (three girls and four boys) to the camp. The youngest is eight years old and oldest is twenty years old. The four boys stayed in the Visionary Room, while the three girls stayed in Prayer Room.



Having conducted several workshops for siblings with autism in the country, Teacher My Sorongon is called to serve as Camp Facilitator. She was joined by Teacher Kismette (co-facilitator and documentor) and returnee Ate Thea (co-faciliator), sibling of Muneer, teen with autism; and Kuya Buboy, also a co-facilitator. They all stayed in Excellence Room and Agape Room of Kubo Camp.


(from left) Teacher Kismette, Ate Thea and Kuya Buboy


The participants were very shy at first, but through the enthusiastic demeanor of Teacher My, the children were finally able to loosen up and blended well with her and one another. The whole sibling camp aimed on imparting on the participants the Big Es: Enjoy, Educate and Empower.


Enjoy. Fun-filled activities such as, Face Tags, Human Bingo and the Longest Line, were lined-up as ice-breakers. Later, they were paired up for the Strengths and Weaknesses Game, and in Trust Walk Game.


The afternoon, the group was separated into two for counseling sessions, with each sharing their concerns, worries and struggles about being a sibling of a child with autism.


Frequent domestic concerns raised among the participants were: (1) double standards, such as stricter house rules for them versus leniency for the CWAs; (2) responsibility imposed on them in looking after the CWA, regardless of birth order; (3) jealousy-on their perception that the CWA is more favored or loved by their parents.


On the flip side, all were proud of the achievements of their sibling CWA, no matter how little it may seem to other people. They also reflected on the (1) negative remarks made by onlookers to their sibling with autism; (2) their inability to prevent their sibling’s tantrums and (3) others hurting their sibling with autism due to ignorance.


During the evening, participants presented their art work that best represented their sibling with autism, in the form of shoes. It was challenging for the kids to think of the possible message that their special sibling might be telling them. The night ended with barbeque over the bon fire. Participants had so much fun cooking hotdogs and marshmallows.


Activities during the Siblings' Camp



Educate. A mock talk show activity was organized for the participants. Questions hurled to the panelists (facilitators) were “What are the causes of autism?”, “Is autism curable?”, “Why people with autism have special needs?”, “Why do they have tantrums?”


Later, in the next activity, they were asked to answer what AUTISM means to them. Realizations were mostly on the need to be educated more on autism, and coping with sibling’s tantrums.


Empower. The Spider Web Activity symbolized their commitment for siblings with autism. Despite the challenges, all resolved to renew their love for the special sibling and do their best to take care of them. Below were their thoughts:


“I promise to be more loving to my brother and to be more understanding” to “I will love him with all my heart” and “I will be on his side and give help whenever he needs it.” But the most touching remark we received was, “As a sister, aalagaan ko ang kuya ko hanggang tumanda kmi” (I will take care of him until we both grow old.”


A survey among the participants was conducted and they were all excited for the next sibling camp. Their request was to add trekking in the mountains. In the end, the Three Es were achieved. All siblings of children with autism Enjoyed, were Educated and were Empowered.


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About the author: Teacher Kismette J. Cepe is a full-time faculty member of De La Salle Health Sciences Institute. She also works part-time as Special Education Consultant at the Neurodevelopmental Center of De La Salle Medical Center and volunteers at the University of Sto. Tomas Psychotrauma Clinic.


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Contact ASP Bacoor Chapter President Mary Janette Peña at 09159857828 or 09208247636 or email at janpea23@yahoo.com/aspbac_31106@yahoo.com.


Be an Angel for Autism. Donate generously to ASP Programs and Services. Donate to Autism Society Philippines Metrobank Kamias Branch 047-3-04751874-2. Email us at autismphils@gmail.com or call 9266941 / 9298447.

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