The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) Cebu chapter’s Angels’ Walk of persons with autism (PWAs) held on April 2, 2023 at the SM Seaside City drew more than a thousand participants as the organization’s goal now is to inspire acceptance, accommodation and appreciation for individuals with autism.
Ms. Dang Uy Koe, Chair Emerita of ASP National, explained that April 2 has been declared as the World Autism Acceptance Day to underscore the need for a change of mindset on autism, which is identified as among the non-apparent or invisible disabilities. April 2 used to be the World Autism Awareness Day.
The ASP is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Its goal is to inspire Filipinos on the spectrum to achieve the best of their potential, be self-reliant, independent, productive and socially accepted citizens of an Autism-Ok Philippines.
ASD is not a psychological condition. It is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. Since autism could not be detected through a physical test, the disorder can only be diagnosed by licensed developmental pediatricians, neurologists and clinical psychologists before age 3 by observing their behavior.
Since autism is not a disease, many individuals with autism live rich, fulfilled lives with the right intervention.
The organization believes that autism is simply a variation of the human condition that requires acceptance, accommodation and appreciation.
In celebrating the World Autism Acceptance Day, the ASP Cebu Chapter also came up with a showcase of talents of PWAs as a way of showing they live normal lives in their own way.
During a program that followed the Angels’ Walk held the SM Seaside City Centerstage, several individuals with autism, mostly in their teens, showed their talents in singing and playing piano and the drums.
Gab Luna sang several classical songs with a Romanian accent while Mon Galang played the drums with his bandmates. Mon shared that he learned to play drums to emulate his idol Dave Grohl. During the press conference held later, the two along with Kerstian Menguito and Josh Sisno shared their experiences.
The organization hopes that the activity would encourage the government and private sectors to accept, accommodate and appreciate the PWAs.