It was in 2009 when Tasha and I started joining the Angels Walk for Autism, the walk was just on their second year then. Back then, the walk was about autism awareness, to make people understand what this lifelong developmental exceptionality which challenges an individuals ability to communicate, socialize and adapt to the world around them is all about. Tasha was just 7 years old and a lot of people were still ignorant about autism.
Back then people would give this judging and piercing looks at us. If looks could kill , I have committed a mass murder. There was a point when I wanted to carry a sign that says “It’s rude to stare” and “I have autism.”
Parents and people caring for and living with someone with autism had to be the bigger person to understand the “normal” people. We are the one who needed to adjust because they don’t understand us but we understand them.
Fast forward to 2020, a decade after, a huge change happened. Slowly but surely the rude stares became more of acceptance and curiosity.
Instead of hearing nasty comment like “You should keep these kind of kids at home.” “Is that kid possessed? Why does she act like that?’
Now, people are more emphatic : “How old is she?” “My nephew also has autism.” “You should go first in line, baka naiinip na Sha.”
TV shows and movies showing the different faces of the autism spectrum has opened the eyes of the people.
During the Angels Walk for Autism 2020, the program had acknowledged and awarded companies in the Philippines who have been more than just accepting of people with autism. The companies are actually the ones who gave employment opportunities to people in the spectrum.
Yes, there are now companies who let people with autism work for them. Pancake House , an awarded in the event, employs people in the spectrum as their service crew. Manulife, has an employee in their HR who has autism. SM malls has always been the biggest partner of Autism Society of the Philippines, they give trainings to their front liners about autism and keep a watchful and caring eyes on the people in the spectrum.
It’s great to know that more doors are being opened for the people with autism. Imagine, a decade has passed and the kids during those times are now adults.
It is high time to have more companies open their doors for employment for people in the spectrum so they can be empowered to become self-reliant inpite their different abilities.
Compared to 10 years ago, I am less fearful about how daughter will be in the future. I still have fears but I pray. I know a lot are now emphatic and I believe that love and light will surround people with autism and us parents loving and caring for them will be less scared for them.
Autism Society if the Philippines (ASP)o the walk. ASP has been helping families with autism for 30 years now.