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.

23 September 2014

An Open Letter from Mona

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!

My Fellow Advocates,

My term serving as a trustee and National Secretary of the Autism Society Philippines ends this month. Because I keep a full-time job and have three kids, my weekends for the last two years have become a juggling act. The task a trustee faces can be daunting; but the ride has been fun and the experience rich. Through my strengths and despite my frailties, I hope I was still able to contribute positively to an organization which, for 25 years, has helped countless other families who journey with autism. I learned a lot on diplomacy and open-mindedness by listening to leaders like Dang Koe, Jan Peña, Ces Sicam, Carmel Almendrala and the ASP board -- all pillars of the advocacy in the country.

I am thankful that I got to work on migrating the ASP website and improving social media presence. I first brought the idea for the 1Pangako campaign to the table and am very glad it has snowballed into the youth-driven advocacy that it is today. I collated years of work by multiple ASP leaders into "The Primer of Autism in the Philippines." I applied for IBM Community Service Grants, which contributed US $6,000 to ASP education programs over two years. I also managed the 13th National Autism Conference which helped raise significant funds for the society and led a committee for the record-breaking Angels Walk for Autism 2013. I worked on digitizing files, improving back-end systems and introducing automation and analytics for the ASP Secretariat. I even helped re-decorate the ASP National office!

I am thankful for my Carl and celebrate him even more. I only recently learned that only 10 percent of the population of individuals on the spectrum are considered “high functioning.” This realization added a new dimension to what it means to advocate for autism acceptance and inclusion -- not just for my son; but for the other PWAs who share the spectrum with Carl.

I have become more passionate about the fact that a parent's conviction to the cause cannot be minimized because he/she does NOT have autism. We are here to advocate for our children; until that glorious day our children embrace the imperative of advocating for themselves and their fellows. The loving autism families I have had the great pleasure of serving showed me the profound ties that bind us all. Grandparents, parents, siblings are all affected, even if only one family member has autism. Autism acceptance and inclusion is, for many of us, a lifelong advocacy for the entire family.

The experience as a servant leader of ASP has enriched me, in ways words cannot describe. Salamat po, ASP!

In service,

Ms. Mona Veluz

About the contributor: Mona Magno-Veluz is the National Secretary of the Autism Society Philippines. Aside from being a practising marketing communications professional in the IT industry, Mona is a wife and a mom to three kids. Her eldest, Carl, is an adult on the spectrum working with their family business.


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