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.

14 January 2013

The road paved for and by Walking Angels



By: Dang Koe, ASP Chair Emeritus

Back in the day when brown-outs were a daily fare, our community saw a burst of bright light with President Fidel Ramos’ Proclamation 711 of 1996, which made possible the annual observance of National Autism Consciousness Week (NACW) on the third week of January. This year, NACW will be on Jan. 20 to 27.
Mona Veluz, ASP national secretary is this week’s “Angel Talker.” Follow her on Twitter @mightymagulang.
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“Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.” — Isaiah 57:14
The National Autism Consciousness Week (NACW) began with the goal of promoting awareness on the neurological condition known as autism and the provision of appropriate social services for individuals with this condition. The celebration gathers public and private sectors together as they discuss issues relevant to this growing disability population.
With the theme “Autismo Alamin: Pagtangap at Pag-unawa Palaganapin,” the event underscores the need for inclusion of the one million Filipinos families touched by autism. The huge efforts the national government and many LGUs have taken to provide services for the persons with autism (PWA) population is an important step towards true acceptance.
The community remains solid as it stands together in its call for basic and extended services for PWAs, especially in transportation, healthcare and education. We are united in the cry to stop the use of “autistic” as a derogatory colloquialism, especially with the Filipino youth. We continue to create opportunities for our children to study and to work, as their abilities allow, in places where they will be treated with respect and fairness.
These messages will resonate strongly in the activities during the NACW, through the efforts of the Autism Society Philippines, SM Programs on Disability Affairs, National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), House of Representatives Committee on Social Services, Buhay Party List, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Pulic Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Education (DepEd), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and autism advocacy groups nationwide.
STARTING THE WEEK WITH A BANG
The Angels’ Walk has become the traditional kick-off for the NACW. It has grown from a walk by a hundred advocates around a major QC rotunda to the high-profile affair it is today. Angels Walk attracts thousands not only from Metro Manila, but from all over the country through simultaneous walks organized by some of ASP’s 62 chapters.
This year, the walk on Jan. 20 will begin from the SM MOA Music Hall with each delegation queuing to take a leisurely walk in a pre-determined path around the spacious SM Mall of Asia complex. The walkers will return to the music hall where they will be welcomed back with a talent show. The Autism Society Philippines takes this opportunity to have fun and create the much-needed noise to issues that matter most to our community. Attendees can expect the usual festive atmosphere, amid a sea of advocates in green shirts and party favors. One of the highlights is the “1Pangako” campaign where VIPs will pledge to help stop the derogatory use of the word “autistic.”
Other activities during the NACW include seminars on “Understanding Passengers with Autism” (PNR and MIAA), “Assisting Pedestrians with Autism” (MMDA), “Preparing PWAs, their Families and Carers for Disasters,” and “Empowering PWA through Employment and Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program”; on-the spot painting contests and photo/artwork exhibits; Quiz “A”; family day and family support group meetings. For details, visit bit.ly/asp-calendar.
This article appeared in print and online by Manila Bulletin on 6 January 2013

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