CLARK FREEPORT -- SM City Clark, in cooperation with the Autism Society of the Philippines-Angeles City Chapter, joined the whole country in celebrating the 14th National Autism Consciousness Week at the SM City Clark Event Center here.

SM City Clark Public Relations Officer Venus Manalang said the mall’s management is one with the Autism Week theme: “Giant Leaps, Transcending Boundaries.”

She said the mall maintains its objective of being a child-friendly mall with emphasis of making it accessible to children and people with “special needs.”

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Cultural and special presentations from children with autism and participating schools, which include the Angeles Elementary School, Brighter Kids Learning Center, Excelsior School and St. Emiliana Academy within the Metro Angeles and Clark area, were presented.

The event was attended by directress of Excelsior School and president of the Autism Society of Angeles City Chapter Corazon Sugay, Doctors Victoria A. Aguas, and Ma. Paz Bautista, who shared their experiences on children with autism.

Aguas also lauded SM City Clark for being a child-friendly mall and for providing and participating in services and programs for children with autism.

She said there is a greater need to educate the public on the needs of children with autism.

Autism is a neural development disorder that impairs the child’s social interaction and communication. It causes kids to experience the world differently from the way most other kids do. Children with autism often cannot make connections and have trouble linking words to their meanings.

“There is also a need to make the National Autism Week more popular in schools and communities,” Aguas said.

The National Autism Consciousness Week is observed every third week of January by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 711 by former President Fidel V. Ramos. The event aims to educate the public and to provide a venue for development of programs for children with autism.

SM City Clark Manager Ana Datu said it has been their campaign of making all SM malls friendly to persons with disability (PWDs) and this is not limited only to mobility as they also gives importance to customers with special needs such as those with Autism.

She said they will continue to explore all other activities that can be implemented in the malls for the enjoyment of people with disabilities. She said that they encourage family bonding wherein families of children with autism can go out and watch movies together in a friendly environment. (IOF)