The Autism Spectrum of Perspectives

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I talked recently with my officemate who said that she thinks her nephew has autism but they’ve tried telling the mother to bring her son for check-up but she went ballistic. This is similar to someone close to me who initially refused to accept that her grandson has autism. It took years for her to do so.  Then I saw a video clip where a Mom discovered that her child has autism and she questioned God on why He allowed her to be faced with such a situation.  I saw another incident in You Tube where a School Administrator denied a child with ASD to join his graduation fearing that he might disrupt the ceremony.

The Autism Spectrum Disorder  (ASD) is a developmental disability that is associated with  social, communication and behavioral challenges. People with ASD  range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD can function fairly well in their daily lives, while others need somebody to assist them.


The ASD include a broader spectrum of disorders that range from autism to potentially milder forms of social deficits, including pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), atypical autism, and Asperger syndrome.


While medically, there is a spectrum disorder for Autism, I found another spectrum of perspectives from parents with children who have ASD and their relatives to the general public as a whole. I am privy to this as I have a son who has ASD and I get to deal with fellow parents as a member of the Autism Society of the Philippines.  At one end of the spectrum are parents who are supportive of their children with Autism and Professionals who work with persons with ASD. I’ve known parents who consulted a Developmental Specialist as early as when their child is two years old. At the other end of the spectrum are parents who refuse to acknowledge that their child has autism. Also with them in the spectrum are those who wouldn’t try to give allowances and understanding to children and adults with ASD. Infact, many call them “special” in a derogatory manner. In between are people who do not know what to do and grudgingly tolerate a person with ASD. Even our laws are not as ASD-friendly as some countries who have social security benefits for those who have this disability.


One thing I find ironic is that Medical Doctors who specialize in Developmental Medicine are mostly Pediatricians. Who will then treat adults with ASD? Also, the Identification cards that the Department of Social Welfare and Development issues will be based on a Diagnosis by a Doctor. If an adult with ASD would like to apply for an ID, what kind of Doctor will he go to?


Having a child with autism makes me feel honored to have been given someone special to care for.  I kept telling myself that we may have done something right for God choose us to become a steward of his child. Infact since children with autism remain a child at heart, I believe that God has given me a very special gift. In Mark 10:14-15, it says “When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone, who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”


The various perspectives of parents impact in the life of their child. An early intervention such as therapies would have more positive effect to the child compared to a late intervention. I just hope that our government would have bigger subsidies especially in therapy sessions as it is very expensive. While government has the Special Education Classes (SPED)  for Children with Special needs, all types of disabilities, developmental cases were lumped together and usually in a bigger class size. Parents like me who wanted more individualized intervention has to seek  out private schools which cost an arm. Aside from SPED class, a person with ASD needs regular therapy such as Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, even Physical Therapy and other related interventions. My son even had Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy and Therapeutic Listening.  


From a totally non-verbal child, my son can now speak and articulate his wants and needs. Gab can also cook his own food and has become quite sociable. As they are creatures of habit, my son is our walking time clock who reminds us daily that “it is now time for our devotional prayer.” And surely, when we look at the clock, it is almost 8:00 PM, the appointed time for our devotional prayer or what we call “Panata”. And you don’t need to tell him to pray before meals. He knew that he needs to before proceeding to eat.

Parents who deny that their child has ASD are denying the much needed intervention that must be done at the  earliest possible time. Their denial comes at a high cost to their child.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.