This year’s Angels Walk for Autism is celebrating the contributions of the many angels and heroes who make life better for families who live and love with autism! Building an Autism-OK Philippines is what everyone aims for.
The Angels Walk for Autism, launched by the Autism Society of the Philippines inpartnership with SM Cares, kicked off the National Autism Consciousness Week at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City last January 14, Sunday, with the gates opening as early as 6:30am. Other partners included MOA Arena, SM Mall of Asia, National Council on Disability Affairs, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability and the ASEAN Autism Network.
This year’s theme, “From Awareness to Acceptance, Accommodation and Appreciation,” affirms the position that disability inclusion should not be limited to “consciousness” but must translate to visible, deliberate, policy-driven action. The event was attended by different families, schools, institutions , and ASP chapters of over 24, 000 participants.
Among Stepping Stone students, our very own Nathan Dacuno of Functional Academic Class and Phil Armie of Teen-Adult Class were present together with their guardians, with special participation of Ms. Irish Gratela, Ms. Nelia Lyn Tuazon, and Ms. Maria Rosalia Apostol BEED-SPED interns from University of Makati. Of course Stepping Stone SPED Teachers, Ms. March Aive Estember of Early Intervention Class and yours truly Teacher Angelica Varona were present.
Line up of the performers consisted mostly of ASP achievers who also succeeded in Acedemics and Arts. This year’s Angels Walk showcased the talents of people with Autism in the form of singing, dancing, acting and theater arts. There was father and daughter tandem too who sang a heartwarming song number. Most of the songs’ message conveyed messages about faith, encouragement, belief in each and everyone’s potential and to honor the heroes of today.
As awarded by children with Autism, they saluted all the Developmental Pediatricians, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Different Clinicians, SPED Teachers, Parents and Families Nationwide—who work tirelessly for the inclusion of persons with Autism in the Society. But of course, everything was to celebrate the life of people with autism who made a difference in our lives.
According to Ms. Mona Magno-Veluz, ASP’s National President, from 23,000 participants last year, we had 24,000 registered participants this year. It is the biggest in the history of Angels Walk to date. Also, this event is simultaneouly being carried out in Baguio, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Lucena, Roxas, Tacloban, and Tagbilaran Cities all throughout January.
Among the esteemed guests from government and non-government organizations were, President of SM Cares, Mr. Hans Sy, who was very energetic to join the walk together with Senator Risa Hontiveros who delivered a short message to congratulate all the heroes in our country who continuously supports people with disabilities.
One of the much-awaited highlights of the event was the Walk around SM MOA grounds. Being into the spirit of the walk as heroes, everyone were having fun gearing up with their families, schools and barkadas. We had fun with the concept — be inspired; be a hero. What better way to celebrate the heroes in our lives is to express our love for these amazing people with a thoughtful gesture.
The Philippines is a more inclusive place because autism heroes inspire acceptance, accommodation and appreciation of individuals with autism. Thank you to all the people behind the event, thank you all for making the Angels Walk for Autism a super success. Let’s pray and continue to build an Autism-OK Philippines!
Thank you, Autism Heroes!