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.

21 June 2021

Parents united in a unique experience that is autism

The ASP Family Support group meeting held via Zoom on 19 June 2021 was hosted by ASP Trustee and South Luzon Cluster Head Joy Ofrecia and ASP Laguna President Cathy Lopez. Parents from Luzon, NCR, Visayas and Mindanao joined the lively discussion, covering a wide range of topics relevant to our children, whose ages ranged from 5 years old to 40 years old.

The image shows ASP Trustees and South Luzon Cluster Heads having meeting with a project coordinator Mr. Cenin Faderogao via Zoom.

Here are the highlights and insights from the session.

Families are coping with the pandemic; but children on the autism spectrum are mostly adversely affected. Parents must explain the virus to their children in a manner they can understand. We must establish new routines and stick to it. Aside from schoolwork, their responsibilities must include household chores, exercise time, and new opportunities for learning their interests e.g. cooking, music lessons or painting. Those who long to see his classmates, parents can advocate for virtual get-togethers and group sessions online;

Practical self-help and daily living skills must be taught at this time. For very young children, focus on self-help skills e.g. bathing, brushing teeth, toileting. School age children must work on how to improve sitting, focus, task completion to prepare them for modular school learning. Parents must balance academics with practical skills e.g. food preparation. Do not baby them – give them responsibilities suitable for their age and abilities.

Online classes are challenging for students on the spectrum and the parents. It seemed the teachers were not trained and prepared to give on-line classes – many unknowns. Parents should not be shy about advocating for the child with school. Coordinate with school and look for support. Let child know that it doesn’t matter if they are on top or not as long as they do their best. Parents shouldn’t pressure themselves but they should also be motivated to support their child’s learning. College is not for everyone. Look for options that will fit your child.

Gadgets can help keep our kids motivated; but can be addicting. If a child spends too much time on gadgets, affecting his sleep and behaviors, replace gadget time with other activities. Do not take something away without replacing it with something better. Put limitations and slowly wean them from gadgets. Use visual schedules and put time for tablet or TV during rest time.

We can prepare our children for vocations and livelihood now. Teach work ethics – compliance, respecting the boss, working independently, finishing tasks, being punctual. Expose them to different things; sometimes discovering what may work is trial and error. Look for special gifts, interests, and strengths.

Parenting is a diverse experience. Parents should empower themselves and connect with other parents and others who can help. Find a support system -- hindi ka nag-iisa. Treasure every moment. Dads share the parenting journey as much as the moms.

ASPs monthly family support group sessions bring together parents, siblings and other family members to talk about their journey in living with autism. Participants share their experiences and draw enlightenment and strength from others going through the same challenges. See you next month! #AutismOKPH


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