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.

04 February 2013

Convergence: A SPEED Symposium


Photo Credits: Patrick Tanbonliong


By Rachel Gan, SPEED

Convergence: A SPEED Symposium is one of the newer projects of Ateneo Special Education Society (SPEED). It started as a small gathering of directors from SPEED’s partner institutions last 2012. This year, it grew to include the outer circle of parties involved in the persons with disabilities community. With this development, SPEED aims to widen its members’ perspectives to the bigger picture.

SPEED, having only nineteen years to its name, started out simply as a group of Ateneo students wanting to make a difference, with The Child’s World as its very first partner institution. Now it has seven partner institutions, and numerous projects, all with the single goal of creating a better world for persons with special needs.

As SPEED nears its twentieth year, its future leaders had to be equipped with more knowledge about the larger community through Convergence. First to speak was Ms. Solvie Nubla-Lee, current moderator and one of the founders of SPEED, to give a brief history of the organization, a look back at how much the organization has grown and how it has developed more ways to cater to persons with special needs. The second speaker was Mr. Manuel Agcaoili, president of Tahanang Walang Hagdan, Pilipinos with Disability partylist representative, and owner of NOVA Foundation. He spoke about the various ways a student-organization group can partner up with the government to promote the advocacy.

In the second half of Convergence, Ms. Teya Paulino, a representative of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs of Ateneo, spoke about the current system of the university for persons with special needs. After which came the speech of Mr. JR Tan, an advocate from Autism Society Philippines (ASP) and a person with autism himself. He talked about his own experiences and development as a person with autism. He also talked about ASP and the different projects, like the recently-concluded Autism Consciousness Week.

Also present was Ms. Erma Sandoval of Sacred Heart Center. She gave some wonderful insights on each topic, and brought up the topic of family for persons with special needs. She pointed out how Mrs. Tiffany Tan, JR’s mother, really walked with him throughout his journey. Ms. Sandoval emphasized the importance of having a supportive family that will really help nurture each person with special needs outside of his school life, and provide the encouragement they need to keep fighting for their rights as persons before anything else. Those words opened the symposium to the more personal side. After the talks, members of SPEED approached JR and Mrs. Tan to talk to them individually. Suffice to say, it was a very enlightening and inspiring event not just for the SPEED members, but also for some of the guest speakers.

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