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.

13 January 2014

Cosplay for autism

Every new year brings the promise of bigger and better things. The collaborating forces behind the National Autism Consciousness Week 2014 aspires to bring you just that. From the amplified Angels Walk for Autism to the week's closing ceremony, the government and private organizations who form the working committee hopes to keep true to the week's theme of “Katuparan ng mga Karapatan ng Pilipinong may Autismo… Isulong Mo! Ngayon Na.”

Mona Magno-Veluz, the Autism Society Philippines' National Secretary returns as this week’s Angel Talker to share the scoop on CAUSEPLAY, a cosplay competition for, by and with individuals with autism and the cosplay community. The hands-on manager for this event is a passionate young man with autism, Gerard Joseph Atienza.

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If you have ever wandered into a mall and found yourself amid strangely-dressed teenagers, fully made up to look like a character you vaguely remember from a Japanese animated series from your childhood, you were very likely amid a cosplay event.

Cosplay, short for costume play, is a performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea, in venues apart from the stage or film. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture centered on role play. Favorite sources include manga, anime, comic books, video games, TV shows and films. The phenomenon is a significant aspect of popular culture. To a certain degree, cosplay is a potentially significant teaching aide for individuals on the autism spectrum, using positive attributes of their assumed characters to use as behavior templates.

Costume play is a fun family activity and can be a teaching aide for children on the autism spectrum, using positive attributes of their assumed characters to use as behavior templates.
The Autism Society Philippines - Bacoor Chapter, in partnership with Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyukai a recognized student organization of De La Salle University-DasmariƱas and SM City Bacoor, is the driving force behind CAUSEPLAY, a gathering of modern visual culture enthusiasts for various competitions and performance, with cosplay as its highlights. The event will feature three competitions, namely: On-the-Spot Art Competition, Individual Cosplay Competition, and Group Cosplay and Skit Competition. Booths, games, raffle, and more are waiting in store for those who will join the competitions. The event hopes to provide a venue for modern visual culture enthusiasts of diverse abilities to express their interest in the genres of their choice through cosplay and art, while promoting an inclusive and disability-friendly cosplay community. With SM Malls as a strategic partner, the event is brought to the mainstream; and becomes an opportunity for the public to learn more about individuals and families touched by autism.

CAUSEPLAY will be held on 25 January 2014, 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM, at SM Bacoor in Cavite. The event will also include the closing ceremonies of the 18th National Autism Consciousness Week.

Admission is free; however, a minimal registration is required to join the competitions. Persons with disabilities can take advantage of free or discounted registration. Funds raised from this event will ensure that in 2014, ASP Bacoor can continue providing programs and services for the local autism community, including the Siblings’ Camp, which focuses on support for siblings of persons with autism, and Self-Advocates’ Workshop, which aims to mold and train potential autistic self-advocates.

(Visit http://tiny.cc/cply14 for details on how to be part of CAUSEPLAY and pre-register online at http://bit.ly/angelswalk2014 for free tickets and a chance to win an iPad mini.)

This article appeared on 13 January 2014 in the print and on-line versions of Manila Bulletin's "Angels Talk" under the by-line of Dang U. Koe, ASP Chair Emeritus.

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