15 Apr

Raya Eruma

Miriam College

The AAAP Experience

Working with AAAP for about three months didn’t seem to be work at all. The parent members and their children with autism were very warm and welcoming. In those three months I observed how dedicated and loving the parents are to their children by spreading autism awareness and aiming for complete autism inclusion through the organization. That love did not only touch the lives of those with autism, but also touched a neuro-typical person like me who didn’t usually mingle with persons with autism (PWA) until I learned about AAAP. Somehow I felt like I was part of the family, the AAAP family.

Whether I was asked to organize or just to participate in events, I always got excited. Meeting PWAs has always been an honor for me. One of my most humbling encounters was with Vico. I first met him during the orientation for the Angels Walk. Ms. Cathy would usually tag him along during our meetings in Lucca at UP Town Center and show us samples of his artworks. He doesn’t talk much, but he sure is a very talented guy. And he even gets international acclaim for his work! Another one I’ll always remember is Clarence. Unlike Vico, Clarence is the ultimate talker. It was easy relating to him because we both love films; it’s just that he knows a lot more than I do. He even memorizes probably all the lines in the movies he watched!

Every event of AAAP I was part of has a special place in my heart. I participated at the Angels Walk, played DJ at the AUTAMA, scored the game and took charge of the karaoke at the organization’s anniversary, and wrote names for ID tags and passed raisins around at the Mindfulness talk. I wouldn’t trade those experiences with anything else. I would like to continue working for AAAP even after my Public Relations internship, with the best that I can. I am one with the cause, after spending quality time with many PWAs. Like every person on earth, PWAs deserve to be loved and accepted for who they are.

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