Walk with angels for autism in SM Lanang

PERSONS living with autism continue to struggle to find a sense of belongingness in the community as they face various challenges daily. This year’s National Autism Consciousness Week aims to put more focus on their plight with hopes to raise public awareness and create ripples of change.

This is the message behind a project of SM Cares and the Autism Society Philippines (ASP) and its Davao chapter: Angels Walk, a mall parade for a cause.

“A person with autism is often bullied. This is because the people around him don’t understand much about what he’s going through. Bullying often leads low self-esteem and sometimes depression,” says Uswaldo Parrenas, ASP Davao chapter president. He mentions that drop outs are also a result of these situations.

He invites schools to look into mechanisms to protect children living with autism—and to mount activities that invite people to have an open mind and learn and understand realities on the developmental disorder. Equipping students and teachers with knowledge, he says, creates a better environment for everyone.

Autism is a developmental disorder that refers to a range of difficulties in social, emotional and communication skills. This occurs across racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups.

This year’s theme–From Awareness to Acceptance, Accommodation, Appreciation–guides efforts and projects on public awareness to create a difference.

This means finding ways to integrate persons living with autism in the workplace and in schools, giving them chances at various opportunities that everyone enjoys.

“Appreciation means to fully understand the worth, quality, and importance of a person with autism,” says Parrenas.

In the Philippines, estimated cases of autism rose from 500,000 in 2008 to one million people at present. This number could be higher because some areas in the country are unaccounted.

Parents from poor families are often unaware that their children have autism. As a result, they do not get the right treatment and intervention. Early detection is important in autism management–this improves both brain and behavioral development.

In Davao City, there are about 10 public SPED Centers and about 20 private schools and therapy centers.

This year’s Angels Walk for Autism is celebrating the contributions of the many angels and heroes who make life better for families who live and love with autism!

Angels Walk in Davao City will happen in SM Lanang Premier on January 14 at 1 PM starting in the SMX Convention Center Davao. This happens simultaneously with other Angels Walks across the country.(pr-smjessepizzaromadriaga)

Posted in Community