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.

02 April 2012

WAAD is needed for Autism?

By JR Tan, Person with Autism

World Autism Awareness Day (or WAAD) was created by a resolution from the United Nations General Assembly last 2008, to celebrate April 2 annually. This celebration is intended to give access to services to people with autism like me. It is also intended to showcase the talents belonging to this disability group and not to look down on them as second-class citizens or as "worthless".

JR Tan during his talk at the 3rd Regional Conference on Autism
held at Cagayan de Oro, hosted by ASP Cagayan de Oro Chapter.

Every year, various people with autism are invited to the AutiSMusical event to sing or play musical instruments. They have a passion for music and want to use them as their gifts to advocate for their disability. In other words, people's perception on people with autism may be changed, although some may not believe it or be convinced at first.

There are also some stalls that sell merchandise made by people with autism - they have crafted those with their hands, with the assistance of their teachers or other mentors. Does this mean that they are lesser a person? They're not! They are just promoting their abilities through their art.

People with autism should be given the proper dignity and respect by not vilifying or exposing them to public ridicule. Being a part of this disability group, I believe that we should be given a bright future to be productive citizens and not confine us to our limitations.

On the other hand, some families of people with autism despair that they do not have adequate resources to send their children to therapy or special schools. Although there are public schools that give special education to people with autism, these are not enough.

For those needing or seeking therapies or other special education needs, these services must be available to all, and not be concentrated only in Metro Manila. However, financial resources are necessary to provide these services.

Autism is growing fast, needing more attention, especially to those who live in far-flung areas. I strongly urge for an affordable and readily-available educational and therapy services for those needing them.

If you are reading this article, register now for the upcoming 12th National Conference on Autism entitled “Living with Autism: Hope at Home” at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Ortigas Avenue corner ADB Avenue, Quezon City. Click here for more information and tell others.

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About the author: JR Tan is 21 years old and a senior taking up BS Accountancy with minor in Biblical Studies at Messiah College Foundation. He dreams of becoming a Certified Public Accountant in the future. JR is passionate about autism rights and is one of ASP's first self-advocate members.

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