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.

10 September 2012

Isang Pangako para sa Autismo




By DANG U. KOE, ASP Chair Emeritus

Filipinos have long been known for our colorful language. We are visual creatures with a tendency to brand things based on outward characteristics -- Boy Pandak, Lola Taba, Kikong Kirat. A mountain in Mindanao is named Susong Dalaga, for what the mound reminds those who behold it.

So it alarms many parents in our organization how young and not-so-young people today are choosing to use "autistic" as a "clever"-sounding adjective to add punch to their insults or jokes, without a care to what autism even truly means.

Mona Veluz (@mightymagulang on Twitter), the ASP National Secretary returns as this week’s Angel Talker.

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Government and church leaders are not the only ones who use slip and use the term ignorantly. Noon-time show hosts regularly use the slur as a joke, using the term “Budoy” (a soap opera character known for autistic-like behavior) for laughable behavior. Young people call each other “autistic” as a joke -- maintaining that it’s “just a word”people use. One blogger, even used the terms as a metaphor in a spiritual context -- equating spiritual “autism” with being evil. This kind of ignorance has become the root of bullying against many individuals with autism.

The unkind use of the word "autistic" needs to end now. Sadly, it is not something that can be changed by legislation or classroom education. It starts with a person choosing not to use "autistic" and other disabilities as a slur; and more important still, not to sit quietly by when friends and family use the word in a derogatory way.

The Autism Society Philippines formally launched the "Isang Pangako" (1Pangako) social media campaign, at the Regional Autism Conference in Cavite last September 8, 2012. The project aims to gather an ambitious, one million pledges from individuals to act to stop the derogatory use of the word "autistic" as a joke or an insult; and to promise to promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities.

The program is not so much about the goal but about getting there. The society aims to use the 1Pangako as a call for action -- as a means to open the door towards meaningful discussion on the true acceptance of individuals with autism over the next few months.

Individuals are encouraged to pledge via Facebook, Twitter or an on-line form. Non-digital pledges gathered in special events, public locations, businesses or schools are also encouraged. The campaign wants to inspire individuals to send in their pledges in a form most meaningful to them -- a blog entry, a status update, a digital poster, a photograph, a video, a song-- creative options are limitless!

As we meet individuals everyday, we encourage members and friends to talk about the project and to encourage them to pledge. We are hoping the project can be the springboard to more meaningful discussions on what autism truly is and an opportunity to educate others who has never had to deal with autism in their lives.

One simple promise can spur the change that may make life better for millions of Filipinos with autism. Go to the project page to find everything you need to know. http://bit.ly/1pangako.

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ASP seminars on September 29: “Picture Exchange Communication System” to be held in Asian Social Institute in Manila; and “Supporting Students with Special Needs in the Regular Classroom" in Los Banos, Laguna. The monthly family support group meeting open to all parents will be held on September 22 in Quezon City. For details, follow Autism Society Philippines in Facebook, Twitter and autismsocietyphilippines.blogspot.com.


This article is published by Manila Bulletin on 10 September  2012

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