Top 5 reasons-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I SAW a simple but challenging question posted by the Autism Society Philippines on their FB page: can you give 5 reasons why you should attend the 2013 Philippine National Autism Conference?
For somebody who has been living and loving and caring for an individual with autism for 21 years, I thought this was such an easy question for me to answer until I realized that most of the reasons I have were self-serving. I then thought of restating the question to give myself better answers: what are my top 5 reasons why I should attend the conference and make a difference not only for my son and my family but also for others?
First of all, I should attend the autism conference because I am a parent. I have a son whose life is full of mystery and challenges. I have two other children and relatives who also need support in living with a family member who has autism. As parents, we should not stop learning about breakthroughs in medicine, new laws, emerging trends in behavior management and other things that would make our sons or daughters become better persons. In Davao City, not all families have the luxury of time or money to go to Manila. Hence, attending this conference would give me an opportunity to share information and give advice to other families as well. I am sure that many parents are curious as I am about stem cell therapy, dance therapy or yoga for sensory integration or ways to improve the dental health of individuals with autism, among others.
Secondly, I should attend the autism conference because I am an educator. I am always a firm believer that one can learn a thing or two from resource speakers and from teacher-participants themselves. By empowering myself with information, I hope I can share and update other teachers in Davao City on best practices in special education and keep their flames of commitment burning with compassion for students with special needs.
The third reason why I need to attend the 2013 Philippine National Autism Conference is because I am a columnist/writer for persons with autism. It is my personal responsibility to equip myself with facts and useful information from experts and professionals to be able to write reliable articles about autism. I hope I will be able to contribute in increasing the level of awareness and acceptance of individuals with autism, in my own simple way, by sharing knowledge gained from the conference. I am confident that the topic on “Autism and Media” will help me appreciate more my role as a Rated “A” contributor.
The fourth reason why I always find the Philippine National Autism Conference worth attending is because I am a member of the Autism Society Philippines. It is always a good experience to mingle with co-members and get inspired by the exchange of stories on parenting and teaching children with autism. It is also a way of getting recharged when you are aware that there is an ASP family whose members give genuine support and understanding to one another.
Last but not the least, I should attend the 2013 Philippine National Autism Conference because I am an advocate of persons with autism and their families. Like other parents, I may have landed on this advocacy because of my son, but there are countless Filipino individuals affected with autism who need other people’s voices to express their needs and aspirations. By attending the autism conference, we affirm this commitment to actively involve the community in providing an inclusive environment for persons with autism.
The 2013 Philippine National Autism Conference is on October 26-27, 2013 at the Meralco Hall, along Ortigas Avenue corner Gardner Street, Pasig City. For more details, please visit http://philnac2013.wordpress.com/.
(Jane Ann S. Gonzales is a mother of a youth with autism. She is an advocate/core member of the Autism Society Philippines and Directress of the Independent Living Learning Centre (ILLC) Davao, a centre for teenagers and adults with special needs. For comments or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 16, 2013.