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 September 2011

ASP attends PSDBP 6th Biennal Convention

By Tiffany Tan, ASP Board Secretary

ASP National and Chapter Leaders attended the 6th Biennial Convention of the Philippine Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (PSDBP) with the theme “Looking In and Linking Up: A Collaborative Approach to Support Families of Children with Special Needs” last September 9 and 10 at the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel, Mandaluyong City.
Participants during 6th Biennial Convention

The delegates from ASP-National were led by President Grace Adviento. She was joined by Peng So (VP), Noemi Viado (Trustee) and this author. Chapter representatives from Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Naga, Iloilo and Lucena also came to support the event. Ms. Cecilia Sicam, ASP founding member, also attended.
ASP Board Secretary Tiffany Tan, ASP Trustee Noemi Viado, ASP Vice President Peng So and ASP National President Mary Grace Adviento

According to the convention organizers, PSDBP president Dr. Joselyn Eusebio and program director Dr. Francis Xavier Dimalanta, the general objective of the convention aim to address the issues and explore intervention programs to support the families of children with special needs in the home, school and community.

Among the unforgettable highlights of the convention is the presentation of Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr., who was recently awarded as Outstanding City Mayor and Local Government Leadership Award (LGLA) by the Philippine Senate. Mandaluyong City is a recipient of the 2nd Most Child-Friendly City Award from DSWD in 2009. The city is also among the first to establish the PDAO or the Person with Disability Affairs Office, even before the PDAO law or RA 100070 was signed into law April 2010. The mayor related that back in 1999, during a visit to the National Institute for Mental Health, seeing a 40 year-old naked person with autism lying on the floor, with head covered. It was related by the mom to the Mayor, that ever since PWA was born, he has always been this way. He was not given the proper intervention and opportunities to rehabilitate, due to lack of knowledge and finances.

At the same breath, the mayor read Philippine Daily Inquirer about Fidel Raymund Cabral, also a person with autism, graduating Cum Laude at St. Benedict College. “Pwede palang may mangyari,” said Mayor Abalos. And thus began his journey in making the city “disabled friendly”. On September 2007, a City Ordinance was issued for a Community Based Rehabilitation Project called TEACH or Therapy, Education, Assimilation for Children with Handicap. The TEACH Project aims to promote an early intervention program for children with special needs. So far, the budget allocated in the last 3 years for this project has been 8.3 Million, with donations coming from different entities such as the AUSAID and World Bank. Another highlight was the Panel Discussion “The Hurdles of Families with a Child with Special Needs: Counseling Parents and Siblings” with Dr. Ma. Theresa Arranz-Lim (VP and Board of Trustee, PSDBP) as moderator, guest panelists, mothers of children with autism: Atty. Gigi Berberabe-Martinez and Dr. Sabrina Tan, PhD.; and siblings Ms. Krishia Kaye T. Go, and Mr. Lorenzo Z. Araneta. The forum presented a very colorful and in-depth look at the lives of parents and siblings of a child with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome and how the family was able to cope and adjust to the challenges hurdled to them. Both Atty. Martinez and Dr. Tan reminded the parents present, to not mind other peoples’ harsh comments or criticisms on how to run your life, but to focus living a normal life as much as possible. And most importantly to celebrate milestones-no matter how small; and learn to seek support from friends and family. For the siblings Krisha and Lorenzo, their career paths were changed as a result of having a special sibling. Krisha is currently a student of Occupational Therapy, while Lorenzo, currently taking up masters in Clinical Psychology. Parting words from the panelists “To love is a choice” and “The journey with having a special child is an adventure.” The forum ended with a group hug. A special exhibit of selected photographs by volunteer photographers highlighting bonding moments of special children with parents greeted the participants from Photography with a Difference of Ace Photographer John Chua, Certified Autism Angel and 2011 Apolinario Mabini Awardee for Rehabilitation Volunteer. Autism Society Philippines also had the opportunity to promote autism awareness and inform participants about ASP program and services, through a shared table with AD/HD Society of the Philippines, Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines and the Parents Advocate for Visually Impaired Children.
The ASP booth at the PSDBP Convention

Over-all the convention was able to answer its goals to underscore the importance of the multi-disciplinary intervention team; helped the participants understand the difficulties encountered by family household members and other team players; highlighted the role of the school and the community and lastly confronted the apprehensions and misconceptions in the community and work environments-presenting solutions and available programs. For more information on the Philippine Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, call PSDBP Secretariat at 434-3946 or and 0922-801-9057 or visit


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