DSWD urges groups to reach out to indigents w/autism

MANILA The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Monday urged support groups of persons with autism and other disabilities to reach out to poor communities who have family members that are suffering from the same conditions.

"Together let us take it upon ourselves to advocate so that those who are disadvantaged brothers and sisters who have family members suffering from intellectual disabilities and other disabilities can also receive intervention expertise which will help empower them to improve their lives," said DSWD Undersecretary Maria Lourdes Turalde-Jarabe.

Speaking at the 11th World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Jarabe cited how hard it is for parents to cope with and find solutions in handling their chldren with autism which could be doubly difficult to those who belong to underprivileged members of the community.

Jarabe said that she herself had to exhaust all efforts to find the proper intervention for her two-year-old child who has been diagnosed with speech disorder.

"We ourselves should work together to remove the barriers that is disabling us. We ourselves must reach out to them," she added.

Jarabe said she wants the advocates to share their expertise to poor families who have members with disabilities on the interventions that were made for their children so that they can be replicated in the community-based settings.

The annual WAAD celebration was highlighted by seminar on autism, awarding of autism advocates and lighting of the Big Dome's green gate with blue light as part of raising awareness on autism. The "Light It Up Blue" event is a worldwide initiative that coincides with the UN observance which is a symbolic way of standing up and understanding peoplen with autism.

Meanwhile, Carmen Zubiaga, National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) executiver director, cited the importance of creating an enabling, protective and promoting the rights of persons with autism and other children suffering from different intellectual disabilities.

Zubiaga said that it is important that different sectors down to the barangay (village) levels of local government unit are active in making the rights of persons with disabilities real.

She added that the seminars are also way for different sectors of society to understand on how they will handle or deal with persons with autism and other intellectual disabilities to better serve them in a society that promotes inclusiveness.

"We really have to educate the community. Sometimes they mix autism to those with psychiatric conditions, psychosis. But this is different. Persons with autism are high achievers and they are capable of taking a future at their hand if given the right rehabilitation and proper raising by the whole family," she said.

NCDA is an attached agency of DSWD.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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