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.

08 October 2012

Why I Teach Children With Autism

By DANG U. KOE, ASP Chair Emeritus

MANILA, Philippines — In celebration of World Teachers’ Day, Autism Society Philippines held an essay-writing contest for teachers and therapists on “Why I Teach Children with Autism.” And the winning teacher-writer is our Angel Talker this week: Katleen Daria.

Teacher Daks, as she is called, is currently teaching as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapist for a family in Singapore. She plans to come home in three months and teach again in Apples Tree Integrated School.


Twenty-five years ago, when my mom asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I answered, “A teacher,” with a little uncertainty. Last year, my mom asked where I see myself in 10 years, I answered “Still in school, I will still be a teacher,” with a smile and twinkle in my eye.

My journey with kids with special needs is priceless. Yes, priceless. The first time my student with speech difficulty called me a “teacher.” The first time I never prompted my student with hyperactivity to sit still and properly. The first time my student with learning disability answered his worksheets independently. The first time my student with fleeting eye contact looked at me for 10 seconds while talking. The first time my student with poor eye-hand-coordination ate without spillage. The first time I let go of him because he was ready to be mainstreamed.

All these might be worthless to some people; but for me, and for all the people who care for children with special needs, they are more precious than any gems in the world or more important than tons of emeralds and pearls.

I know why Geppetto never lost hope on Pinocchio

I am very certain that when someone would ask me “Job with high salary or career with just a penny?” I would answer “career with just a penny.” As Jessie J says, “Why is everybody so obsessed? Money can’t buy us happiness. Ain’t about the cha-ching, cha-ching, Ain’t about the ba-bling, ba-bling.”

Hats off to all teachers, therapists, caregivers, parents and friends who are making a difference in every kid with special needs’ life!

If someone would ask me why I teach children with autism I would simply answer: “The kids were the prettiest flower I have ever seen, and I am one of the luckiest gardener in the world to be able to watch them bloom to be the most beautiful flower God has ever made.”

And if a non-verbal kid would say “Thank you, Teacher” for the very first time, it would definitely mean more than the words could say.


ASP will hold back-to-back seminars on “Your Child’s Behavior and Sensory Integration” and “The Feeding Struggle” on Oct. 20. Resource speaker is senior occupational therapy consultant of Therapeutic Intervention for KIDS, Lady Suarez. Venue is at La Sagesse Rehabilitation and Development Center, 14 G. Bunyi Street, Buting, Pasig City.

The monthly family support group meeting, open to members and non-members of ASP, will be on Oct. 13. This will be facilitated by ASP board trustee Gina Bermudo. Venue is ASP’s national office in Kamias, Quezon City.

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This article appeared in print and online versions of the Manila Bulletin on 8 October 2012.


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