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.

01 July 2017

Q&A with Grace Gomez, PhD - July 2017

"It takes a village to raise a child." This African proverb rings louder for children with autism. The Autism Society Philippines believes that parents should build relationships with a professional compassionate support team who can advise and counsel them, in addressing the myriad of questions they have about raising a child on the spectrum.

"If you have met someone with autism, you have met ONE person with autism." There is no substitute for personal consultations with professionals, which consider traits and behaviors unique to the individual with autism.

As ASP continues to receive questions from parents and family members year-round, we have reached out to the following experts to help answer some concerns on health, education and intervention.

I have a son 4yo and 8mos, diagnosed with ASD. Mula po kc ng baby anak ko palagi siya nanonood ng TV as in, Tapos po nung 1 1/2yo nagtatablet na siya. Napansin namin na hindi siya normal. Nung mag 2yo na siya kasi pinacheck up namin sa PCMC at na diagnose ng ASD level 3. --- Tin I.

It would be best to supervise and regulate technology use among all children. Parents can choose a variety of educational television programs that their children can watch. There are apps that can help children with their school work. As a parent, choose the shows and the games that your children are exposed to because they most probably engage in the media that they see.

Sabi ng speech teacher kaya nyang sumabay sa regular school. Napansin ko sa 1st week ng schooling eh hindi tlga siya maistay sa upuan at hindi pa rin nakikinig sa teacher like other children. OK po ba na ipasok ko sa regular school ang anak ko or SPED school po ba talaga ang kailangan? --- Tin I.

A lot of factors affect placement. Based on the information that you have given, you can gradually place the child in the regular class. You can initially place the child in a physical education class where games and movement are involved.

May pagasa pa po bang matutong makipagcommunicate ang anak ko? May mga story po ba naging ok ang may autism? --- Tin I.

Early intervention brings a lot of benefit as the window of opportunity for learning at is optimum during the early years of life. Continue to give intervention. Be patient in reinforcing what is learned in school and the therapy center.

My 4 year old daughter has just been diagnosed ASD today. The doctor said that she has to undergo therapy. Just want to ask if what can we do more as parents to help improve my child's development and is the therapy for lifetime? --- Mark M.

Ask the therapists on activities that you can implement at home. Implement the recommended activities constantly. Be patient in teaching and affirm the child in whatever success he has. Words of affirmation such as "good job", "great", "excellent", "wow", "go and do it" motivate children.

Is sign language okay for a non-verbal autistic? My 18-year-old brother is currently studying at a SPED school, but his verbal communication skills have not improved to the extent that he can express himself, usually just syllables. I heard about total communication in Miriam College, too. Which do you think is the best for him, stay in his current SPED school, sign language in Philippine School for the Deaf, or in a total communication school in Miriam College? ---Ymmalu E.

The two schools that you mentioned are exclusively for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Unless your brother has been diagnosed to have deafness, he cannot enroll there. If you are interested in sign language, I suggest that you and your parents learn it first and be the ones to teach.There are different alternative and augmentative communication means that you can explore. One is the picture exchange communication system (PECS).

Marie Grace Gomez is a Associate Professor 2 and a faculty member of the Special Education Area, UP College of Education at University of the Philippines Diliman. She is also the Director of the Diliman Learning Resource Center. Doctor Grace is currectly connected with the Counselor Education Area of the College of Education.

She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science (1998), a Master of Arts in Education Degree with major in Guidance (2003), a Doctor of Philosophy in Education degree majoring in Guidance (2007) and another Doctor of Philosophy in Education Degree majoring in Special Education (2012).


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