Message of Dr. Lirio Covey, President of AAAP which co-chaired the April 2016 celebration of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD).
Today’s event marks the celebration of increased awareness and recognition of the autism condition throughout the world. Many interventions and services to help this population – by addressing their deficits and strengthening their assets, have begun. These services have, overwhelmingly, been oriented to children and adolescents. There is a broader reality of the autism condition, however, that also needs to be recognized – the majority of living persons with autism are not children, they are adults.
Why is this attention necessary? In some ways, happily, for those of us with loved ones who are autistic, persons with autism have lifetimes that are not different from persons who are not autistic. They can live up to the age of 60 or more. As with non-autistic populations, transitioning from childhood to adulthood carries new life challenges.
Our association – the Association for Adults with Autism Philippines, is committed to improving the lives of adults with autism – throughout their adult lives, by recognizing those adult needs while still adapting to their demands of their atypical status – by encouraging their socialization, and. in line with the focus of this year’s WAAD event, by helping them transition into productive lives in ways befitting their abilities.
It is gratifying to have cooperative relationships with fellow advocates and organizers of today’s event who are devoted to adults with autism and others with special needs. Like Best Buddies, the Unilab Foundation’s Project Inclusion, and the Philippine government’s National Council on Disability Affairs. Our hearts are full of gratitude and inspiration from seeing the commitment and generosity displayed by your presence here today. AAAP is proud to be part of WAAD and the autism community in the Philippines.
Indeed, they are not less, but persons with autism may walk, sing, act, and, maybe, even dream in a different key. That different-ness raises special challenges. Let us work together with love, perseverance, and the joy of creativity to meet those challenges and bring about a better world for us all. Thank you. God bless.