Today is the World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) as declared by the United Nations in December 2007. The theme this year is “Make the Rights Real for Persons with Autism”.
Sadly, most families afflicted with autism in the country hardly know of their rights or even bother to claim such rights because of the red tape and bureaucracy happening in the country. So far the only bill close to give some sort of benefit to family and persons afflicted with autism is the Special Educations Act a bill sponsored by Senator Ed Angara with a budget of Php600 million for 5 consecutive years. I wonder where the money goes since the law took effect. The law is not autistic-specific but also includes other people with special needs and disabilities.
Meanwhile, there are 8 pending bills that are autism related and I hope will really benefit families and children afflicted with autism.
There are 3 bills filed by Senator Miriam Santiago: SBN-3133: Autism Spectrum Disorder Management Act, SBN-1644: Advisory Committee on Autism and Immune Deficiency Disorders in Infants and Toddlers, and SBN-1626: Autism Prevention, Early Detection, Diagnosis and Treatment Act. While Senator Manny B. Villar filled two bills SBN-1273: Autism Registry Act and SBN-1124: Interagency Initiative to Enhance Services for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. And other bills filled individually SBN-287: Philippine Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders Act by Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes; SBN-810: Autism Center by Senator Jinggoy P. Ejercito-Estrada; and lastly SBN-40: Comprehensive Autism Intervention Act of 2010 by both Senators Manuel “Lito” M., Lapid and Ralph G. Recto.
I have browsed some of the bills and feel that Senator Santiago, Senator Villar, Senator Trillanes, Senator Estrada , Senator Lapid and Senator Recto should read up each others bill and make one unified law for the benefit of and use of children and family afflicted with autism. Please meet up with parents, schools, organizations that re dealing with autism and collate all the input from them and form a one unified and strong bill that will truly benefit the children and families afflicted wsith autism. Having 8 separate bills is just confusing, our country hardly ever enforce a law strictly, just like the law against violence on women and children where authorities shun domestic violence and inability to provide financial assistance as a common domestic problem they should not intervene.
Personally persons and family afflicted with autism needs the following:
- An affordable if not free facility where a parent can take her child for diagnosis.
- An affordable center if not free facility where a parent can take her child for early intervention (for PT, OT, and one-on-one tutorials) .
- Scholarships for students who want to take psychology and special education, developmental psychology.
- Free training for parents and caregivers of children with autism.
- A safe facility/venue where we can take our child to socialize, play, and learn a livelihood with other children with autism.
Did you know that 1 percent of the world population is afflicted with autism and about 1 million families in the Philippines have to deal with autism everyday and only a few of them can afford to give proper care, education and medication?
Please help make the rights real for persons with autism.