The Philippines celebrates the 25th annual National Autism Consciousness Week on January 18 to 24, 2021 with activities that espouse for the greater involvement of persons on the autism spectrum in the affairs of society.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Pilipinong May Autismo: Kakaiba, Kasali, Konektado”. It intends to heighten societal awareness of the uniqueness of Filipinos with autism; their inclusive development in terms of human rights, education, employment, among others; and their achievement of individual self-awareness, self-expression and their feeling of belonging in a compassionate society.
Autism Society Philippines (ASP), the national non-profit organization with 100 chapters around the country, has lined up webinars and other online events that promote action by the public and private sectors towards enabling persons on the autism spectrum to live with dignity, enjoy equal rights and access, function independently and contribute productively.
“We would like the society to strive beyond ‘awareness’ and to inspire genuine inclusion through acceptance, accommodation and appreciation,” said ASP national president Mona Magno-Veluz.
One key activity is the webinar on “Autism–Inclusive Tourism” on January 21, 2021, at 9:00 am via Zoom and FB Live (Sign in at http://bit.ly/NACW2021-tourism ). The forum aims to promote enlightenment and reduction of uncertainty among tourism and other service industry players when dealing with persons with autism to help create an environment where all individuals will feel confident, included and welcomed. Recent incidents involving the treatment of persons with autism in tourism-oriented establishments have found their way into public consciousness, reiterating the need for a better understanding of autism.
The webinar on “Voter Education for Neuro-diverse Filipinos” on January 18, 2021, at 2:00 pm via Zoom and FB Live (Sign in at http://bit.ly/NACW2021-vote) intends to prepare potential and existing voters with neuro-developmental disabilities and their families for the next election. This event intends to be a platform to bring to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), lawmakers, and other relevant government entities, the issues and challenges specific to voters with autism, AD/HD, Down Syndrome, and other similar disabilities who wish to be informed on specific, simplified steps in registering to vote and ultimately, in exercising their right to vote.
The launch of the virtual 2021 edition of the Angels Walk for Autism, an annual advocacy event that has been held since 2007, will be on January 24, 2021 at 10:00 am via FB Live and YouTube Streaming. The festivities will be hosted by Ms. Dang Uy Koe, Chair Emerita of the ASP and the ASEAN Autism Network and ASEAN Prize Laureate of 2019.
The full schedule of activities of the 25th National Autism Consciousness Week may be accessed through the link
Philippine National Autism Consciousness Week was enabled by Presidential Proclamation 711 of 1996 signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos, which called for its annual celebration every third week of January.
Autism Society Philippines has, for 32 years, served as a support group to children with autism and their families; helping empower parents of children on the spectrum through seminars and trainings and organizing activities to provide a variety of learning opportunities for the children. (PR)