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.

21 March 2014

My First ASP Chapter Leader Conference

The first time I got an invitation to attend Autism Society Philippines 2014 Chapter Leader Conference, I had mixed feelings. I felt excited with the idea of meeting and learning from other leaders; and at the same time nervous not knowing what to expect. Yet, I just knew that this is something that I have to attend for the benefit of ASP Sta. Rosa Chapter and our children with autism (CWAs).

The two-day conference last 8-9 March 2014 at Eurotel Pedro Gil was in-depth enough for me to appreciate the work that we do and learn more about how to become a better advocate for our CWA’s. The organizers made sure that there is a balance in activities where participants can interact, share and learn.

I liked the workshops where I was grouped with seasoned leaders and relatively new chapters officers like me. It made me feel comfortable knowing that my current concerns such as finding funds, how to grow members and how to make meaningful activities are shared by other chapters too. I got lots of tips from my group members. The discussion on ASP’s policy agenda was very lively and the facilitator made sure that real life examples were given on how to better push for them given the opportunities as chapter leaders. The topics on communication and project management were focused on our needs as an organization. The very credible speakers made sure that such topics usually only found on corporate seminars were tailored to our needs; and I saw a lot of benefits in using these tools to professionalize our organization. I particularly enjoyed the role playing on communication where the organizers allowed the participants to apply what they have learned given real life scenarios. It was not only a learning experience but a fun-filled activity that showed real talents in acting among the Board of Trustees (BOT’s) and the participants as well!

Dr. Olive Medina, ASP Sta. Rosa President, preparing with her group for the role-playing exercise.
During our small breaks in the conference, I appreciated that the trustees are going around the table to make the effort to interact with the participants and made us feel comfortable. Suddenly, I do not feel like a “newbie” anymore. ASP is certainly more of a family where the support and camaraderie is strong.

As the conference is loaded with activities and information, there is a tendency for us to forget some of the details, but the organizers made sure that we went home fully armed not only by their promise to send all presentation materials but by giving us the ASP primer. In this way, we can easily share to the rest of the officers in our chapters. The primer is a very useful tool to make sure that the sixty eight (68) chapters are aligned and have one voice in making our advocacy real and clear to all stakeholders.

The 2014 Chapter Leaders Conference was a success for me -- not only because I became equipped with the tools needed to lead better -- but it made my heart burn with more passion to reach and help our CWA’s and their families. I am grateful to the Board of Trustees and ASP National officers and organizers for their perseverance in gathering the officers together. I still have a long way to go and much more to learn; but I am glad I took that first step in growing as a leader by attending the Chapter Leader Conference.

(This article is the contribution of Dr. Olive Medina, President of the ASP Sta. Rosa Chapter)


Here are other comments from other chapter leaders:

  • “I learned a lot today. I've got something to share again with other people especially to the parents / educators who are very well concerned of what Autism is all about.”
  • “The chance to be with the leaders and the trustees of ASP gives me clearer perspective on how to better influence our members to improve the chapter and the chapter’s activity.”
  • “It is really amazing hearing all the information that will be on our chapter. Talagang brainy ang lahat ng speaker. In all the CLC is a fruitful event.”

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