Photo Credits: ASP Diliman Chapter and ASP Laguna Chapter
Summer means several things for people. For many, it is the time to plunge into adventure and/ or discover new sights. For others, it is the time to forge ties with people from other places or cultures. For some, it is the time to hone one’s hidden talents. For a handful, it is the time to simply laze around. But for a chosen few, it is “A” time to do something different.
For siblings of persons with autism (PWA), summer offers a chance for them to understand their brother or sister with “A”utism, to see their family situation in a different perspective, and more than anything else, to accept and appreciate the uniqueness of their role as siblings of PWA.
Different ASP chapters have been organizing Siblings Camp Philippines or SibsCamP as part of the siblings support program for five summers already. Siblings age 9 till 20+ years old flock to private resorts or scenic places surrounded by nature to bond, enjoy, listen, support and encourage each other as they share their life’s journey into the world of their brother, sister and even cousin with autism. The overnight annual summer event highlights the desire of ASP to reach out to the other “overlooked” or “put aside”” family members who are also affected as much as their parents once a diagnosis of autism is made in the family.
Summer 2013 witnessed the SibsCamP conducted by ASP Diliman Chapter and ASP Laguna Chapter last March 23 and May 17 respectively. Bringing only their backpacks (parents were strictly instructed to stay at home) , the Diliman sibs trekked to the hilly Phillip’s Sanctuary in Rizal while the Laguna sibs headed to the homey Maspeth Resort in Los Banos. The camp was filled with games, group and individual activities, mini-lectures on “A”utism, and countless sharing which led to sleeping in the wee hours of the morning. It was heart warming to see siblings of all ages building new friendships as a way of continuing their support for each other especially when they go back to their respective homes and realities. It was also a welcome sight to see more adult siblings (college and working group) gaining interest in joining the sibscamp. A handful of them expressed the need to be enlightened with their situation. But the encouraging situation was seeing siblings, who were former sibscampers, facilitating the event. Their life-long experiences in coping as sibs of PWA and as former campers contributed to their decision to be of service to co-siblings.
Summer indeed means several things to different people. But for siblings of PWA, summer means HOPE as they open their lives, and share their wishes and dreams with other siblings at SibsCamP!