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.

15 March 2014

ASP speaks at SPEED Formations Assembly

(This article is the contributions Jed Carangan, member of the Ateneo Special Education Society.)

The Ateneo Special Education Society (Ateneo SPEED) is a student organization in the Ateneo de Manila University which caters to people with special needs. With the finality of the looming end of the school year, the members or the Speple, often pause to think about how to further live out SPEED’s advocacy beyond school, especially for graduating students. SPEED’s Formations General Assembly 3 (FGA 3) serves as an avenue for further reflection and self-exploration in the context of SPEED’s activities for the past year and what to do for the next year or the long-term in the context of SPEED’s advocacy. It is also a seminar that provides guidance to Speple should they choose to actively engage in championing SPEED’s cause.

Erlinda “Dang” Koe of Autism Society Philippines shared her experiences as a mother of three, her eldest son with autism. Despite the difficulties she encountered, she was still able to lead a fruitful and fulfilling life, both for her and all her children. As she shared her experiences, her words echoed the similar challenges that Speple face in interacting with persons with special needs, and it was touching to listen to how she found fulfillment and joy brought forth by her son, similar to the sense of fulfillment that Speple feel upon the conclusion of each area visit, and after being in the company of people with special needs.

ASP Chair Emeritus Dang Koe addresses the "Speples" on volunteerism.

She also shared the various ways that people can help in spreading ASP’s advocacy through volunteering to work for ASP. She shared how Speple after graduation can still continue to work for SPEED’s and ASP’s advocacy, even if they can no longer directly participate in the events of SPEED. This allowed Speple to consider different avenues for promoting SPEED’s advocacy beyond school, which is especially important for graduating students as SPEED’s members come from various courses. Inevitably, Speple will be pursuing different career paths after graduation, which will make it difficult for each of them to push for SPEED’s advocacy just as vigorously. Dang Koe’s talk allowed Speple to realize a common ground for them to continue promoting SPEED’s advocacy, despite the different paths in life that they would have taken, which is through the spirit of volunteer work.

After Dang Koe’s talk, the Speple were asked to break into small groups for further reflection on SPEED’s advocacy and Dang Koe’s talk. This was an avenue for the Speple to reminisce about their stay in SPEED, and to further reflect on how they cherish SPEED’s advocacy and how they have grown to embody its ideals.

Dang Koe was also joined by ASP Trustee Peng So, whose PWA son Patrick, is graduating from Ateneo de Manila this March with a BS Life Sciences, a 4-year undergraduate honors program.

Overall, the FGA 3 was an apt conclusion to SPEED’s year. It allowed its members to consider what can be done for the advocacy in the future and to look back at how they grew as persons dedicated to helping make the lives of people with disabilities richer.

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