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.

06 May 2015

Cecile Sicam leads ASP Tandang Sora Family Support Group

The gathering of people with common needs is always a great opportunity for learning through sharing. On the afternoon of 1 May 2015, such a gathering took place at the Guanella Center in Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City.

ASP Tandang Sora FSG participants with Ms. Cecile Sicam

Organized by ASP Tandang Sora Chapter President Ciony Torralba, and facilitated by Cecile Sicam, ASP Founding Mother and the current National Board Secretary, it was attended by 16 families, most of who lived around the area surrounding the center. There were also families who braved the heat and traffic, who came from other parts of Quezon City. Among family members who attended were 5 fathers, 6 PWDs, siblings and a niece. ASP Tandang Sora Chapter is a mixed disability group which includes families with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, intellectual impairments. Children’s ages ranged from 3 to 25 years old.

When asked what their main concerns for their PWD were, responses included problems with behavior, concerns about their adult child’s future, language/communication development, lack of financial resources for a vital surgical operation, and employment/occupation.

Parents of adults who were already in fear of their child’s tantrums and meltdowns, found solace in understanding listeners - other parents of adult PWAs. They learned that they needed to be consistent and firm with their child, set clear rules, give choices and provide visual cues to enable the PWA to understand others and to express themselves.

When asked what they got from the sharing, responses included learning that one must discipline PWDs the same way as other children, that one can use drawn pictures and cutouts to enhance communication, that there is such a thing as transition planning for adulthood, and that one must discover their child’s interests that may in the future become their occupation. They all expressed eagerness to have more sharing sessions in the future and even offered the Guanella Center as a venue for future family support group meetings.

About the contributor: Cecile 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 Secretary. 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 RnB Ice Plant.


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