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PIA Press Release
2005/01/19

Parents not aware their children are autistic

By Rose Palacio

Davao City (19 January) -- Many parents are not aware that their children are suffering from autism. One or two out of every 500 persons might be afflicted with autism and yet, not much is heard or read about the disease.

This figure would translate to at least 140,000 autistic Filipinos in a population of about 80 million.

Lolita Go of the Autism Society of the Philippine, Davao chapter, mother of an autistic child and one of the founders of the Rainbow Intervention Center Foundation (RICF) said they have not come up with definite figures on these children with special needs in Davao City.

She related her experience with her autistic child adding that “I only knew my son, Kevin, was autistic when I could no longer understand why, at age 2 and a-half, he was hyper-active.”

Relating her story, she said “it was so difficult for me to cope up with my son, Kevin, until I learned that he was autistic.”

At that time, there was no specialist on autistic children in Davao so she had to bring Kevin to Manila for an examinaton. At present, Davao have its own development pediatrician for autistic children by the name of Dr. Risa Isaguirre.

A Day Care Center for Children with Autism program is being handled by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with the joint effort of the city government, non-government organizations (NGOs), and parents with autistic children.

However, there is still a need for the government to come up with an individualized education program for autistic children and appropriate policies to respond to their needs and condition.

In Davao City, the RICF is serving about hundred autistic children. Autistic children often exhibits symptoms such as being hyper-active, aloofness, lack of social interaction, refusal to maintain an eye contact and may show speech defects.

Timely and appropriate intervention on autism would enable the child to lead a normal and productive life, Go said.

Autism is defined as a lifelong development disability that typically appears during the first three years in life.

It is a result of a neurobiological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain and interferes with the normal development in areas of reasoning, social interaction and communication skills. (PIA-RPalacio) [top]

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