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Autism Cares: When Persons with Autism Grow Up

6 Nov

Parents, special education teachers, and developmental clinicians formed the majority of more than 80 attendees at AAAP’s second annual symposium held on October 5, 2013, in the Justitia Room of the Ateneo Law School in Rockwell Center, Makati, Manila. The event was honored as well by several young adults with autism. The presentations paid special attention to transitional and employment concerns that arise as children with autism grow up to adulthood and in finding ways to make government act on and champion autism management.

The symposium presentation topics and speakers were:

The New Diagnostic Criteria in DSM 5 for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dr. Lirio Sobrevinas- Covey, Ph.D. Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York; Research Scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute; Mother of a 35 year old male with autism.

Independent Living Skills Training

Maria Rosario “Bunny” Gonzalez Joaquin, M.A.Ed. Founder and President, Shine Special Education Center, Inc. Pasig City, Philippines ; Secretary of the Board of the Philippine Association for Behavior Analysis; Special Education Consultant at A Child’s D.R.E.A.M. Foundation.

Employment Opportunities

Ms. Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi, M.A. Executive Director, Unilab Foundation; Co-Founder, Except One, Pte. Ltd (Singapore-based management consultancy); first Vice President for Global -Diversity, Unilever; 2005 Asian Women of Achievement in the UK; Senior Advisor to Asia Society’s Women Leaders of New Asia

Engaging Government for Autism Management

Ms. Celia “Cel” Capadocia-Yangco, M.A. Former Undersecretary for Operations and Capacity Building Group, DSWD; Project Director, Philippine Early Childhood Development Project, Departments of SWD, Health, and Education; Executive Director, Autism Hearts Foundation-Philippines.

Transitioning to Adulthood: Sexuality and Other Issues

Dr. Lourdes “Honey” Arellano-Carandang, Ph.D. President, MLAC Institute for Children and Families; Past Professor and Chair, Ateneo de Manila University Psychology Department; named Philippines National Social Scientist; Outstanding Psychologist; pioneered Family Therapy and Play Therapy in the Philippines.

Diet and Nutrition

Dr. Ma. Luisa Campos-Cagingin, M.D., M.H.A., Founder and Director of Sta. Belina Learning Center; President Dasmarinas Chapter, Autism Society of the Philippines; Head – the Nutrition and Dietetics Department , Makati Medical Center. Mother of a 26 year old male with autism.

Corporate contributors to the event were the Ateneo Law School which provided the venue – the Justitia Room at the Ateneo Law School building located in Rockwell Center in Makati, Manila, and Jollibee Corporation, which provided lunch and snacks during the day.

AAAP to Build First Residential Community for Adults with Autism

9 Mar

It is the dream of every parent of children with autism to settle their loved ones, when they become adults, in a safe and secure environment that will provide long-term care for persons with autism. With this vision in mind, The Association for Adults with Autism, Philippines (AAAP) came up with a flagship project, A Special Place, the first residential community in the country to care for these persons with special needs.

To realize this project, AAAP featured paintings by adults with autism at the Reading Room of Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati City last February 20 for a silent auction. Young artists Matthew Aragon, Vico Cham and Andrei Macapagal donated their artworks for the cause.

Corporate representatives and guests attended the art auction in support to AAAP’s A Special Place project. Broadcast journalist Karen Davila and other advocates for the care of persons with autism, were among the speakers at the launch.

The fundraising event was held to help construct A Special Place which will initially consist of six individual homes located within the same campus with six residents and house parents assigned per unit. The residents will receive full supervision and care. The facility will be built in a location south of Manila, with a cool environment that will provide “nature therapy”, yet still relatively accessible to basic services.

“Our focus now is to raise enough funds to make this dream a reality especially now that more and more Filipinos are diagnosed with autism. We thought of A Special Place because, as parents, it is a reality we face that we will eventually grow old and, thus, have to ensure the future of our offspring who have autism. We’ll not always be here for our children and we believe it’s high time to have a facility here in the country that specifically caters to the needs of adults with autism, a place where they can enjoy a secure, independent, and comfortable life,” said Lirio Sobreviñas-Covey, President of AAAP. Covey, a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University in New York, is a mother to 33-year old Mikey, an adult with autism who now lives in a residential community in New York.

For more information on A Special Place and AAAP, contact Carissa Villacorta at +639175955480 or send an email to adultautismphil.

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The Association for Adults with Autism, Philippines (AAAP) is a non-profit group conceived and established by parents of persons with autism. The association aims to provide sustained enrichment opportunities and long-term care to these individuals as well as offer means to achieve personal growth, social interaction, and a cooperative life among their peers. Visit for more details.

Figure 1 (L-R) Enviro Board Managing Director Joshua Mosshart, Karen Davila, Enviro Board Co-Chairman Glenn Camp, and Gloria Caoile.

Figure 2 Vico Cham draws Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair Patricia Licuanan.

Figure 3 AAAP President Lirio Covey presented the concept of A Special Place.

Help build “A Special Place”

18 Jan

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