Autism is not a tragedy -Autism Society of the Philippines

Extremely short attention span, no response when called by name, indifference to others, no single words by 16 months, no two-word phrases by 24 months and many other signs that indicate that the child has autism.

That leads some parents to think that they are in a tragedy. “It is a natural reaction to such devastating news.However, that sad notion should not happen,"said Mary Janette L. Peňa, president of the Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP) in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

“Attending seminars and trainings for a better understanding and acceptance of persons with autism helps a lot in improving the outlook and treatment to them. Autism is not a tragedy, the tragedy begins when ignorance about it prevailed” Peňa added.

“Many children with autism, especially with early intervention, make considerable improvements,” added Peňa. She also added that by attending seminars parents will acquire learning and understanding if their child has autism and will know what they need to do to make their toddlers feel that they are supporting in order to empower them by focusing in boosting their skills and talents instead of their weakness and deficiencies and hiding them from the society.

She also pointed out that many children with ASD are gifted with talents and knowledge and with superb abilities. “Some of them are good singers, good readers, creative in their works of arts and even geniuses,” she optimistically added.

She cited that there is a need for parents to be supportive of the talents that these kids displayed at their young age in order to hone them better to enable them to be confident in their inclusion in the society like any other able-bodied citizens.

The ASP aims to provide an environment that empowers persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to reach their full potentials, be self-reliant, productive and socially-accepted members of the community.

ASD is a developmental disability that severely hinders the way information is gathered and processed by the brain that causes problems in communication, learning and social behaviours. It typically appears during the child’s first three years and is four times more common in males than in females.

People with ASD live normal life spans and some behavior associated with it may change and disappear over time. “Up to now its specific cause is not yet known, but while there is no cure yet, awareness campaign will help a lot to make their rights real,” she then added.

She is grateful that some support groups and other entities in the society are employing also person with autism and thus making them persons with abilities.

She expressed optimism that in the future more and more government and private entities will join their hands together in their effort of inclusion to the society of persons with autism that will eventually enable them to be widely known as persons with abilities instead of just being simply tagged as persons with autism.