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.

17 February 2014

Discovering Best Buddies

Many of us have long recognized that the deficits associated with autism has made it difficult for young adults on the spectrum to connect with people their age, more so, make life-long friendships. Many long for the company of friends -- which is different from being with their parents, their family or their caregivers.

Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), founded by Anthony K. Shriver in 1989. Their programs include opportunities at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels. For adults, the Best Buddies Citizen program pairs adults with similar interests to be “buddies” through regular shared activities. While the initial commitment is only one year, the mutual benefit of these creative friendships have paved the way for lifelong connections.

Rhodora Fresnedi, host of the BB training,
with ASP Trustees (L-R) Peng So, Carmel Almendrala, Mona Veluz and Cecille Sicam.

Best Buddies has a strong presence in Latin and North America, Europe and other parts of Asia; but Best Buddies Cebu is one of their older chapters, having existed for twenty years in ten regional universities. The Autism Society Philippines is among the institutions eager to explore the offerings of the recently established Best Buddies Manila. Diana Rihl, Deputy Director of International Programs from Best Buddies HQ, assisted by Dr. Angelina Onrubia, Best Buddies Manila Program Director, gave a briefing to ASP and other potential partner institutions like Unilab, SHINE, One World, ILLC, Bridges Foundation. DSAPI, Xavier School, International School, British School Manila, among others, last 15 February 2014. The half-day session educated potential Best Buddies advisers on the tools and techniques necessary to roll out the Best Buddies chapter.

The Autism Society Philippines is looking into launching the BB Citizen Program for our PWA members. Stay tuned for more details!

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