25 Feb


by Lirio S. Covey

About three to four times more males than females receive the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Why that is so has been unclear. What has been frequently noted is that girls receive an ASD diagnosis later in life, often in adulthood, instead of the common detection time of ASD during the years up to 8 years of age.

A behavioral phenomenon labelled as “social camouflaging” is becoming understood as explaining in part the larger autism ratio of boys to girls. It is a social strategy engaged in more typically by females than males with autism, enabling the latter to seem to fit better in their social environments at school or at work. It can also be referred to as a dissonance between what’s going on emotionally in the inside and what appears on the outside.

Social camouflaging occurs when the person recognizes her/himself to be engaging in behaviors considered unusual or unacceptable, and responds to this awareness by forcing him/herself to stop doing those behaviors, making adjustments to refrain from such acting out telling autistic behaviors. Like the comforting behaviors of stimming, fidgeting, or other repetitive behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of autism.

This inhibition of natural inclinations, which requires self-awareness and great effort can be physically and mentally exhausting. The frequent psychological costs are – not feeling understood by others and by their own selves, anxiety, and depression.

Contributing to the problem of a possible under-rating of ASD in females is that existing instruments for diagnosing autism are oriented towards identifying autistic traits usually found among males. Many autistic traits among females have yet to be well identified and understood. This under-diagnosis partly explains why diagnosis later in life occurs more frequently in girls, leading to less and later access to relevant social supports and other therapeutic aides.

Social camouflaging and the costs of autism are discussed further in the linked article and in the peer-reviewed article referenced below.

Hull L, Petrides, KV, Allison C, Smith P, et al. “Putting on My Best Normal Social Camouflaging in Adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, August 2017, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 2519–2534.


13 Jan


A recent analysis of 39 well conducted research studies found that persons with autism spectirum disorder (ASD) are less expressive overall than persons without ASD. Facial expression is an important means of communication. Being able to accurately express inner emotions is critical in conducting meaningful social interactions.

In addition, their facial expressions were found to be less consistent or appropriate to the social context. This characteristic, the authors of the study suggest, likely contributes to the deficits of persons with autism in effecting reciprocal social interactions.

Difficulty in social interaction and communication is one of the two core symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (Repetitive, compulsive behaviors and resistance to change is the other).

Variations in the extent and degree of this deficit were noted in the research. Differences when compared with non-ASD persons were smaller with older age and higher intellectual functioning. This suggests that more knowledge and familiarity with social practices and norms could improve the lack of appropriate and meaningful facial expression when ASD is present. Such familiarity could come with greater socialization and experiences in variable and wider social settings.

Comment: This would imply that greater socialization and experiences with persons without ASD, in the general community, an important outcome in inclusion practices in employment, recreational, and educational settings, could ameliorate, over time, the lack of social competencies notable in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Reference: Facial Expression Production in Autism: a Meta-analysis. Dominica A. Trevisan, Maureen Hoskyn, Elina Birmingham. Autism Research, December, 2018



17 Nov


Movements need champions, without whom progress would be slow or not happening.

With the audacity to regard our organization as a force in a movement – that of drawing attention and societal resources to adults with autism, a hitherto ignored segment of the autism population, AAAP has awarded the first AAAP Champion award.

AAAP is fortunate and honored to have been exposed to a true Champion of the AAAP cause.

The first recipient of the AAAP CHAMPION AWARD is Atty Sedfrey M. Candelaria.

– He is a Master of Laws graduate of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

– He was the very successful Dean of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law from 2010 to 2018.

– He now heads the Research Publications and Linkages Office of the Philippine Judicial Academy and Chairs its Department of Special Areas of Concern.

– His generosity towards AAAP fits a lifetime of service to persons in need. His writings, many written for UNICEF, have focused on human rights, refugees, children’s rights, and rights of indigenous peoples.

Atty Candelaria, AAAP is deeply grateful for your facilitating our organization’s access to the exceptional elegant and world-class level of facilities at the Ateneo Professional Schools at Rockwell Center, starting back when AAAP was a fledgling organization. We launched in February 2012. We held our first symposium at the Ateneo Law School only a few months later, in November, 2012.

For five consecutive years – from 2012 to 2016, AAAP held symposia delivered by experts on autism and related topics at Ateneo in Rockwell. These events were attended by significant leaders and members of the autism and other “special needs” community, from the government as well as private organizations.

This series of educational lectures was a significant boost to AAAP’s recognition as a resource by members of the community of families and persons with autism and their advocates. This comprised invaluable help towards our mission of improving the lives of hitherto much ignored adults with autism in the Philippines.

Atty. Candelaria, you are indeed an AAAP CHAMPION!

Congratulations and, as members of the Filipino community, my fellow AAAP members and I thank you and wish you continued success in all your future endeavors.


2 Oct

How it feels to be diagnosed with autism later in life.

Increasing numbers of adults are coming to find out that they have autism. Even earlier in life, these persons had found themselves to be different in certain ways from most of their social contacts but were unclear as to the reason why. In some cases, the recognition that they have autistic traits and, perhaps, the full condition itself, has happened because a father or mother brought their child for autistic assessment and, in the interview and testing processes of their child, recognized in themselves the items that are positive for autism.

It may also happen that the individual has certain superlative talents, such as musical, drawing, or painting virtuosity, or high level of mathematical skill, that autism related impairments are ignored or minimized. This conundrum, and the pitfalls associated with it, are discussed in the article below.

How it feels to be diagnosed with autism later in life

An adult with autism speaks

27 Aug



20 Aug

Caring for a Person with Autism (PWA) is no picnic. There are social, behavioral and communication deficits that need to be addressed on a daily basis regardless of the PWA’s age, IQ or social condition (mild, moderate or severe)..
Reducing disruptive behaviors and strengthening their own coping skills are just some of the objectives a primary caregiver needs to keep in mind..
AAAP has come up with the PWA Caregivers Stress Busting Techniques Training to help assist parents/guardians when professional services are lacking or still underway since we know there are long waiting lists for services in many large metropolitan areas…..
These concrete strategies will tide things over for the caregiver while waiting for professional help at the same time teach the participants to learn ways to ease up and de-stress emotionally, mentally and physically through quick practical movements/exercises.
The session will zero in on teaching the primary caregivers certain skills that improve how they interact with the PWAs and deal with challenging behaviors on certain settings. How to foster communication and further develop language skills. Skills to be used on a daily basis as they participate in activities at home, school and play. It applies across toddlers, puberty and adult stages…

AAAP Getting to Know You Event (Aug 25, 2018)

8 Aug

Fun time is face time!
AAAP is organizing a Getting to Know You event on August 25 (Sat) from 10am to 2pm! It will be held at Bacolod Chicken Inasal, Jupiter St., Bel Air 2, Makati.. This is our opportunity to bond, share a good laugh, spread positive emotions and mutually influence each others’ attitudes especially when it comes to planning for our PWA children’s future!

It’s a date! Pls reply as soon as possible. Thank you!!!

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