Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Advocacy for Autism Awareness

I asked a few people around about their idea of what is AUTISM. While some gave answers, others just shrugged it off. Among those who offered responses, I was surprised to note that most of them described autism similar to those physically manifested disabilities like Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. 

Such is a tangible proof that autism awareness in our society is not yet fully disseminated. It is sad to know that the general public is uninformed and in other case, not yet willing to accept autism as part of today’s society. 

Let me just share to you briefly the definition I used to know when I was only beginning to be a part of this special community. Autism “is a developmental disorder that affects how a person sees, hears, touches, tastes and smells; therefore how he perceives the whole world.” Furthermore, it is characterized by triad impairments in the areas of adaptation, communication and social. And although there have been numerous claims linking it to genetic causes, it is still of an unknown origin and an unknown cure. 

I and my special student Leoben Alex D. Cordero
in our story telling presentation during  National Disability 
Prevention and Rehabilitation Week held at Robinson's Place, 
General Santos City.

Our country is not spared from this disorder either. Looking back a bit in 1992, the enactment of Magna Carta for Disabled Persons provided the government a stronger impetus to improve on its educational services for these children. Learning institutions are encouraged "to take into account the special needs of disabled persons with respect to the use of school facilities, class schedules, physical education requirements, and other pertinent consideration." 

But since inclusive education involves changes in educational philosophies, curriculum offerings, structural organizations, and teaching strategies,  however, special schools need huge funding for this program to be fully implemented of which the children with special needs will benefit most.

This whole scenario poses not a problem but a challenge to work harder in spreading awareness about this issue in every way we can do, little way as it may be. The advocacy to spread autism awareness must continue. And this requires more than just words from the mouth; it needs a welcoming society with an expansive heart that supports special children and families regardless of developmental condition, social status and economic circumstance.

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