The Autism Society Philippines will be holding its elections on October 25, Saturday. This is part of a series of open letters written by the outgoing trustees for the society's membership. To the society's servant leaders, we thank you for your service!
I am so proud of how ASP has grown in 25 years, thanks to the untiring efforts of its dedicated trustees, particularly its Chair Emeritus, and staff. And thanks to Mona, ASP has managed to stay relevant in the fast-paced digital world of social networking while keeping true to its intent of providing support for persons with autism and their families. I am grateful to be part of this effort and to have the chance work alongside brilliant and dedicated women from whom I continue to learn much from. I am also grateful for the opportunity ASP has given me to broaden my horizons to other Asian countries.
As Vice-president, I was given the privilege of representing ASP at AAN events and meetings. I have learned a lot from attending conferences, meetings and visiting autism centers in other countries. Given the relative strength of ASP among its ASEAN neighbours, the representative of ASP was given the position of secretary of AAN. I just hope I was able to uphold the high regard of AAN for ASP in doing so.
As head of the Education Committee, it was my responsibility to come up with topics for monthly seminars and work with the programs committee of the National Conference for conceptualizing flow of topics. I apologize for the times I have not been as effective and efficient as I should be in doing this. Having a regular “curriculum” used to work for us since we were the first to come up with the training and seminar series focusing on autism. However, we are now competing with so many other training providers and it is more challenging to come up with new topics and resource speakers that are crowd drawers. I also feel there was a conflict of interest in my role as training officer of Bridges and as Education Committee head of ASP. Both roles required me to come up with topics for seminars and
conduct trainings as a source of funds. Inasmuch as we require Trustees to relinquish their key positions in chapters, perhaps we should also require any trustee to either relinquish other positions which may conflict with their roles in ASP or to inhibit themselves from positions which can conflict with their jobs.
Other than being instrumental in acquiring a modest $1K grant for chapter building and strengthening from ICDR, I can think of no other significant contribution I have made to ASP. I fervently hope that more fresh and committed members can continue the work that was started 25 years ago. With the growing population of ASD, the challenges for families and the community remain.
About the contributor: Cecilia Sicam is one of the 11 original founders of the Autism Society Philippines. She has served ASP in many capacities, as President from 2000 to 2004; and as its current Vice President. Inspired by her PWA son Likas, Ces has been instrumental in the founding of Professionals for Autism Foundation, Inc., Center for Autism and Related Disorders, the Philippine Association for Behavioral Analysis, and Bridges Foundation where she is currently its Directress. She taught SpEd for three years Santa Clara, California; and came back to serve Filipino children with special needs. Her adult son is employed full time as R & B Ice Plant.