Stefanel Khloie L. Daylo
A Quarter with AAAP
I have been under internship with Association for Adults with Autism Philippines, or AAAP since January 2015. All I knew at the beginning was that it was all a chance for internship experience and an alternative final requirement for my Public Relations class. Little did I know that it was way more than that.
There were several events that I have gone to during the short period of time I have been with AAAP. There was Autama Trivia Night, a fun-filled evening celebrating existing and yet-to-exist friendships, of which I had an opportunity to be the head of my organizing team. Along came the 3rd anniversary of AAAP, a day of laughter and thanksgiving for the wonderful years AAAP has been able to reach out and help a lot of IDD’s. There was the Mindfulness Seminar as well, the practice of finding peace amidst the challenges of autism. Each of these events taught me lessons on life and become a way for me to get close to some of the IDD’s: Vico, Clarence, Carl, and Jessica. Even though I may not fully understand their condition, at least I was given an exclusive look on the beauty of their situation of which I am very grateful.
Whenever I am with them or just merely watching them from afar is like seeing the creativity of and the wonderful diversity of life created by our Creator. AAAP helped me catch a glimpse of persons who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, that they are not people whom we should shed pity upon or treat as an inferior but as equals and are just as special as we are. Seeing their talents actually made me positively envious, especially the fact that they are successful in their own fields. It felt like that there’s no way for neurotypicals to look at life hopelessly and without direction. No matter how complex they are, they still continue to rise above the challenges of life especially in terms of socialization. Through them, God proved that He is fair – making the IDD’s lack on something neurotypicals have and blessed them with something that neurotypicals cannot have but still making both people in different spectrums as amazing as they are ought to be.
I will never forget AAAP and I thanked God for letting me know such an organization. My younger brother has a mild autism and he has known my involvement with AAAP. I would really want him to be part of the organization so that he would also be inspired of the capabilities of the people who belong to the same spectrum as he is. Although as of the moment he wouldn’t want to, I believe that there will come a time wherein he would willingly join the organization and realize that being with AAAP is one of the best things that could happen to him.
Today, I could truly say that spending a quarter of a year with AAAP has been a worthwhile experience that my friends and I will be having for the rest of our lives.