Contrary to popular belief that persons with autism need special care, they can be a productive part of the workforce, as well.
Uswaldo Parreñas, Autism Society Philippines (ASP) president, said during the Kapehan sa Dabaw on Jan. 20 that four adults with autism are currently working in different companies in Davao City under the Autism Works program.
Two are presently working in SM City Davao and two are in Save More in Bangkal.
Imelda Rendon, Rainbow Intervention Center for Autism Foundation Inc. (Ricafi) executive director, said adults with autism have been undergoing job coaching with them and other institutions to better prepare them to become productive members of society.
The Department of Education (DepEd) also has a free special program in public schools for children with special needs. High functioning persons with autism have a good memory and excellent at organizing things. They can encode and are able to communicate with people, as well.
For now, local government units aren’t included yet in the Autism Works, but some government agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, have committed to help the program succeed. For one, they agreed to hire persons with autism.
Negotiations with private companies such as H&M and Jollibee are in the works to increase the number of opportunities for persons with autism. Presently, they are discussing the accommodation of persons with autism. They are hoping that it will be done this year.
Along with that, the ASP celebrates the 24th Autism Consciousness Week, where there would be several activities during its culmination on Jan. 26, such as Angels Walk, and a program with a talent show that would showcase the abilities of these special children.
The event aims to increase awareness, understanding, and acceptance of persons with autism in order to make a better environment and for them to enjoy productive lives.
“We are here as parents. To give more awareness to our community, the accommodation, the appreciation, and the acceptance of our children,” said Febe Lybai Matthews, a member of the executive committee of the group.