The Autism Society of the Philippines describes autism as “a lifelong developmental exceptionality, which may challenge an individual’s ability to communicate, socialize and adapt to the world around him.”
On its website, the organization shares that 1 in 100 Filipinos belong to the autism spectrum, which roughly translates to 1.2 million Filipinos who are living with autism today.
In observance of the Philippine National Autism Consciousness Week (NACW) on February 5 to 11, 2017 and to further promote awareness, acceptance, and inclusion of people with autism, a list of activities are being mounted by the group.
On Sunday, February 5, the NACW kicks off with the Angels Walk for Autism at the MOA Arena in Pasay City. More than 15,000 families, persons with autism, support groups, volunteers, schools, LGUs, and other autism awareness advocates will be marching around the MOA complex.
Assembly time is at 7 a.m. with a program inside the MOA Arena. The walk starts at around 10 a.m. The event will feature performances from the NU Pep Squad and talented PWA performers. Also in store is the awarding of the ASP Autism Achievement Angel Awards (A5) to PWAs who have excelled in international and national competitions. There will also be a signing in of the new trustees of the Autism Society Philippines and the Philippine Society of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics
The event is organized by ASP, SM Cares, MOA Arena, NCDA, APCD, AAN, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the NACW National Working Group. It is free to the public provided interested parties sign up for the free tickets this link: http://bit.ly/nacw-2017.
NACW was made possible through President Fidel Ramos’ Proclamation 711 of 1996. Besides inspiring awareness, acceptance, and inclusion of persons with autism (PWAs) in society, the proclamation also aims to encourage both the public and private sectors to take a proactive stance in enabling PWAs to live with dignity, enjoy equal rights and access, function independently and contribute productively.
According to ASP’s online message, this year’s theme, “Onwards to an Autism-OK ASEAN,” is “a multi-sectoral call for making the changes needed to build an autism-inclusive global society, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. For the welfare of a maturing population of people with on the spectrum, care for persons with autism must transition from the confines of the home and school to universities, businesses and workplaces. We hope to inspire awareness, acceptance, accommodation and appreciation of autism in all sectors of society.”
Other events scheduled for the week are An employment fora; a seminar on challenging behavior in autism; a workshop on friendship, love and romance for persons with autism; and a one-act play.