Autism in a New Light

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The debate continues as to why there is a surge in the number of children that are diagnosed with autism. While some contend that it’s because of the hype that media gives, others press that the stronger awareness campaigns make the labeling more prevalent. Regardless, one truth prevails—more and more people are working to provide better opportunities for individuals with autism.Autism Hearts Foundation (AHF) is one of those groups that will pave the way for these opportunities.An organization that is committed to funding organizations that provide direct services, family support grants, awareness, research, education, advocacy and recreational opportunities to improve the quality of life of individuals with autism and their families, AHF is setting up the first-ever International Autism Conference (AIC) in the Philippines. Set in February at the Philippine International Convention Center, the conference will gather global experts on autism including top resource persons from the M.I.N.D. Institute in the US.AHF founder Lynda Borromeo shares the conference’s two main goals—to provide a one-stop shop for people with autism through Autism Institute of Asia (AIA), and to launch the collaboration with the world’s largest autism advocates, the Autism Speaks, through Global Autism Public Health (GAPH).Borromeo, grandmother to a child with autism, explains that with number of children identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) nearing epidemic proportions, the right services, treatmentoptions, and latest researches are needed now more than ever.THE REAL SCOREPhilippine Society for Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics (PSDBP) Dr. Alexis Reyes says that in the Philippines, there are no data on the status of autism. This is primarily the reason why she, along with other doctors, formed an autism study group to look into autism more closely, its genetics, nature and profiles of the families.Autism Society of the Philippines (ASP) president Dang Koe also shares some of her and the members’ experiences in the organization.With theme “The Science of Autism: New Directions and Priorities,” the conference will help maximize the potentials of the persons with autism to learn, to develop and function independently. …