The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

30 June 2014

Answered Prayers

This article appeared on 30 June 2014 in the print and on-line versions of Manila Bulletin's "Angels Talk", by Dang U. Koe, ASP Chair Emeritus.

In my years serving the Filipino autism community, I have met many families and I continue to be amazed by the stories of those who live with autism and do so with faith, hope and love.

Lagmay Family

The Lagmay Family has been an active participant in many an ASP activity. While this family has stayed away from the proverbial spotlight, their teenage son Kiel stands out as an articulate and intelligent young man with autism, who has impressed many and inspired others by being the true epitome of what an autism self-advocacy should be -- respectful, humble and kind-hearted. While it is not likely that his autism diagnosis can be reversed, Kiel shows us how, in the grand scheme of things, it does not even matter. In this personal account, Angel Talkers Aldrich and Sally Lagmay share their family’s ride through the bumpy spectrum called autism.


“He has autism …”

Why him? Will he be able to live a normal life? Is there any cure? Will he be able to speak, read, or write? What about his education? Will he have friends? Why did God allow this to happen to us? Is there any hope for him? Who can help us?

Autism is just another by-word until it hits home. When tragedy arrives at one’s doorstep, it’s either we draw ourselves closer to God and trust Him for His faithfulness, or we draw ourselves away from Him -- a heartless God, a God that does not exist. We chose the former. We drew ourselves in the protective love of God, asking for His guidance and wisdom.

Frantic search over the web in search for answers… a cure… a specialist... a therapy center… a school. All this had led us to a brother in Christ, living halfway across the globe -- and his prayer has changed our lives and more significantly our son’s.

"Dear Father. We praise You for Your mighty power and grace. Heal Ezekiel. Oh what a name of blessing! Like the Ezekiel of the Bible, give him insight and wisdom. Touch his tongue with the coals of Your altar in Heaven and loosen his tongue so he speaks of the glories of God! Lead this family to those who can help their son develop into a Godly man. Give them strength and ability. We praise You for all of this and give You the glory. Let this family draw close to Your Son, Jesus Christ, and be sheltered by Him. Save souls and save this family. Let their faith and story be a witness for others. In Jesus' Name we pray, Amen."

Last March 2014, our son graduated as the valedictorian of his class and with God’s blessings he is going to take up B.S. Computer Science at Ateneo de Manila University this coming school year. Below is an excerpt from our son’s valedictory speech reflecting his journey with autism.

“I am standing here today because God had answered my prayers. Thank you, Tabernacle of Faith Christian Academy, for preparing me for 11 years to become a good citizen for God’s glory. Thank you, Integrated Center for the Young, for believing in me that I can reach my dreams. Thank you, Core Skills Therapy Center, for being my guide for 12 years in living a normal life. You made me realize this quotation by Temple Grandin that ‘I may be different, but not less.’

And for my parents, you may not understand what God has planned for me -- why I was born with autism -- but you had surrendered your plans to God, and did your best to raise me. You have sacrificed your time, effort, and even finances for me to live, in a way, as a regular person. You sent me to the best therapy center, best school, and took me to vacation in different places for me to experience what it means to enjoy life even with autism. I would like to thank you very much for pouring out your love and support to me one day at a time, and believing in everything I do. I thank God that you are my parents. You taught me to dream and trust God.

And finally to my ever-present God. I may not know why You created me this way, why I belong to 1 out of 50 newborn afflicted with ASD, why You allowed me to have autism; but Lord here I am, I trust You and I believe that You have a reason and purpose for creating me this way. I declare that You are my Creator, You are my Redeemer, You are my great help. You are the reason why I keep looking forward for my future. Of whom shall I be afraid? My God is alive and He is true to His promises!

Thank you God for never leaving me and helping me in my studies that’s why I’m standing here right now. I give You back all the glory to Your name, Jesus, my Lord and my Saviour.”

Allow us to take this opportunity to thank all the people whom God have used to help us in our journey with autism. Indeed God had answered our prayers. Our Lord Jesus Christ has made a difference in the life of our son!


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