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 June 2011

ASP Molino Chapter Conducts First FSG

By: Jacqueline C. Garcia, ASP Molino Chapter President

The highly anticipated first Family Support Group of the ASP Molino Chapter was held last May 24, 2011. It was facilitated by ASP Chair Emeritus Ms. Dang Koe and attended by 11 parents, 12 teachers, 1 sibling of a child with autism, 1 nurse and 3 children with special needs (CSN). It was well attended because it had been widely disseminated by the Molino officers that “Mama Dang” would be the facilitator of this FSG. Mama Dang is famous, inspiring admiration and love in the hearts of those who have watched, seen and heard her in her advocacy works. In fact, I regarded her as my inspiration in handling and developing my son Johnvid (CWA) to reach his fullest potential.
ASP Chair Emeritus Dang Koe (seated in white) and
ASP Molino President Jacqueline Garcia (4th from left) with the
participants of the 1st FSG

Dang was fascinated by the number of the participants and said ‘May rebolusyon talaga sa Cavite dahil parami ng parami ang ASP chapters’ (There’s really revolution here in Cavite, as shown by the creation of more ASP chapters).

Chair Emeritus Dang Koe clearly defined what an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is. Autism is a “spectrum” that affects every child differently; one child who’s affected may have mild symptoms, while another may have serious symptoms - but they both have an ASD. She went on to explain that the ASD category includes Asperger Syndrome (AS), citing the example of John David C. Garcia, a highly functional child with autism. He can sing and play the guitar and is now in a regular school, with the chance of pursuing college education in the future. Others in the spectrum display a wide range of symptoms, ranging in severity from mild to disabling. Those with an ASD also vary widely in their individual abilities, intelligence, and behavior. By way of example, Koe cited her own son Gio, who is non-verbal, and she pointed out that he has no special talent. (There is a common misconception is that if your child is autistic, then he/she must have a special talent, skill or ability.) Autism behaviors are probably the most difficult area for a parent to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Having a range of strategies is important: you never know which one will work on which occasion. What is important is to teach them beyond the content of their level, understanding, skill, and ability and let them feel that they are cared for, nurtured, loved and that they belong in this society – a sentiment Ms. Dang closed her lecture with.

A parent of a child with autism (CWA) shared that her son is very good at Math, English and Computers but that he has no focus on his studies, a short attention span, short frustration tolerance and little interest in making friends. The parent says, ‘Nagtataka ako kasi marunong naman siya sa klase pero hindi siya maka-pokus sa mga gawain niya, pero sabi ko sa sarili ko masuwerte pa rin ako dahil nakakapagsalita ang anak ko iyong iba ay hindi nakakapagsalita at nananakit pa! Kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa Maykapal at hindi ganoon ang aking anak. Kapag ako ay nakakakita ng batang malala ang kondisyon at hindi nakakapagsalita pinagdarasal ko sa Diyos na sana ang hindi ko nagawa at naibigay sa aking anak ay ipagkaloob na lang niya sa mga batang ito na may malubhang kondisyon at tulungan silang makapagsalita!’ (I’m puzzled because Josh is good in his class but he can’t focus on his works, but I said to myself that I’m still more fortunate than the other parent with CWA especially to those who are non-verbal and hurt themselves. Whenever I see CWA who’s having severe conditions, I pray to God to help this CWA and whatever things that I haven’t given to my son, please my Lord grant unto the less fortunate CWA, help them to cope with their disability."
Participants during the group sharing

Ms. Dang praised the parent that shared for having a pure heart. She cares not only for her son, but for other CWA too!

Finally, we can say that ASP family support group is the best group in which to find a helping hand, a loving thought and a caring heart. Go out and organize your own ASP Chapter to make a difference in the lives of your CWA and others…


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