“Katuparan ng Karapatan ng Pilipinong may Autismo: Isulong mo, Ngayon Na!”

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014


THIS is the theme for this year’s National Autism Consciousness Week on January 19-25, 2014. For the sake of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), this should not remain merely as a theme for one week but a challenge for a lifetime. The task is for us to act now. For many years, the battle cry of the advocates for individuals with autism spectrum disorder is true acceptance and inclusion of persons with ASD in society and all advocates renew their support and commitment every year by participating in the week-long activities organized by the Autism Society Philippines.

As usual, the celebration of the NACW starts with the traditional “Angels’ Walk for Autism”. What makes it special and unique this year is that it coincides with the celebration of 25 years of advocacy of the Autism Society Philippines. From last year’s 10,000 participants, the ASP is expecting around 12,000 “angels” from all sectors of society. Although the SM Moa Music Hall was large enough for the crowd last year, the venue for the 2014 Angels’ Walk is now at the SM MOA Arena to accommodate everyone. The Angels’ Walk will gather families, schools, government officials, company owners, entrepreneurs and anyone who has a heart for individuals with ASD.

Of course, we have a Davao City version of the Angels’ Walk spearheaded by the ASP Davao Chapter, in coordination with SM Davao and SM Lanang Premiere. There will be an NACW Program/Talk and Angels’ Walk at SM Lanang Premier on January19, 2014 at 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. The program and talk will be held at Cinema 6 Center Stage to be followed by the Angel’s Walk which will culminate at the Fountain Court. If you intend to participate in the Angels’ Walk, wear anything green which is the official color of the ASP. As we all know, the color green symbolizes hope.

Aside from the Angels’ Walk, the ASP Davao will conduct a Stress Management Workshop on January 23, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the SM City Davao Annex Event Center. This seminar is for free.

For our beloved individuals with autism, there will be a “Sensory-Friendly Movie” on January 25, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at Cinema 4 of SM City Davao.

I do believe that many are supportive and would like to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder but do not know how to put your intentions into actions. Well, you can start by joining the Angels’ Walk and later on become more involved in the other activities of the Autism Society Philippines. We can do so many things in Davao City for the upliftment of the quality of life of individuals with ASD and the parents and teachers cannot carry the entire load. We need the support and ideas of everyone to make Davao City an inclusive community for persons with ASD.

Since I am in Manila during the National Autism Consciousness Week, I will be doing my Angels’ Walk at SM MOA Arena and represent the Davao contingent. What about you? Show up at the Angels’ Walk in Davao City and be counted as an advocate. “Isulong mo, ngayonna!”

*****

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 janeanngonzales@yahoo.com).

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 15, 2014.

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