Lirio Sobrevinas Covey is the founder and current president of AAAP and proud mother of Mikey, an adult with autism. She is currently a Professor in Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry with Columbia University Medical Center. She earned a doctorate in Psychology from the City University of New York , and completed a master’s degree in Psychology and post-doctoral training from Columbia University. She is a licensed psychologist for the state of New York State. Her clinical and research work focused on smokers who were both nicotine dependent and suffering from co-occurring depressive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and alcohol and/or drug dependence. She co-authored a book that collected her experiences and those of other smoking cessation experts entitled “Helping the Hard-core Smoker: A Clinician’s Guide”, and has been the senior author or co-author on numerous peer-reviewed US and Europe-based scientific publications.
Lirio attended St. Theresa’s College in Quezon City and in Manila from grade school through college. In 1964, she graduated from STC with Summa Cum Laude honors and was named one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines. She recalls fondly her fellow awardees for that year who continue to live in the Philippines and remained good friends – Vicky Pineda Garchitorena, Sonia Malasarte Roco, Alberto Fenix, and the late Senator Raul Roco. After more than 50 years of studying and working in the United States, Lirio is returning with her family to live in Manila. When she is not ballroom dancing or renewing childhood and college friendships, she plans to devote her time in the Philippines to the development and nurturance of AAAP and the residents of A Special Place.
She penned “Living with Autism,” a personal story, which was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in June 2011.