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.

17 October 2016

Veteran family support group facilitator shares

I love being with parents of children with autism, speaking with them, listening to their stories and sharing mine. It is always a privilege to provide answers to their questions at the same time recommend some strategies to try with their CWA.

I have a firm belief that constant interaction between parents/guardians will help them realize they are not alone in the journey and for this, it builds hope, courage and strength.

When I was asked to facilitate a Family Support Group at ASP National Headquarters last 15 October 2016, I was delighted and excited. To me this is one unique opportunity to be inspired and be an inspiration. This is another chance for me to fulfill my Lord’s will for my life.

Came the day of the FSG. Moms arrive one by one, then a dad and a sister. One after another we introduced ourselves and tell each one’s journey with autism. This group turns out to be composed of families who have kids, adolescents and young adults with autism. As each one talks about their family’s journey, they have shown the uniqueness of each, and it just confirmed the valuable impact of hearing and knowing how other families face the challenges brought about by having a child with autism.

We were all moved by a young sister’s story, remarkable. She is taking care of her two half-brothers both young adults with autism. She used to work abroad to support the needs of her family especially her two brothers but decided to come home to personally look after them and ensure they are getting the right interventions. Every parent hopes that their neurotypical children will take care of their sibling with autism when parents are old or no longer here, and hearing ate’s story somehow ease the parents worry.

As we interact, answer questions, follow up questions and more follow up questions, we simply found ourselves laughing and enjoying the conversation for hours. We got lost track of the time, we left ASP headquarters almost seven in the evening. But before we said goodbye, we exchanged contact numbers and had one mom take charge of creating a group chat account. Then, on the next day, voila!!!! Conversations continue on Viber.

I would like to thank each and everyone who joined me, thank you for letting me be part of your journey. Let us all journey together filled with so much love, hope, courage and strength. God bless us all always!

About the contributor: Joy Ofrecia is a mother of a teenage boy with autism. She has been a hands-on mother and for more than 10 years, has been implementing home intervention programs along with other school/center-based interventions for her own son and other children with autism. She has earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Angeles University Foundation. She conducts orientations and training to parents and professionals on autism. She is the current president of the Autism Society Philippines City of San Fernando Chapter. Teacher Joy finds her fulfillment in her role as an advocate of autism and an instrument to empowering parents of children with special needs.

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