Martin Nievera says there is something ‘magical’ about having a son with autism
Martin Nievera says there is something ‘magical’ about having a son with autism

FATHER AND SON. Martin Nievera spends time with his son Santino in the United States.

Martin Nievera's Instagram

'Sana, we can see through the eyes of an autistic child, because there’s magic there.'

MANILA, Philippines – Singer Martin Nievera opened up about his bond with Santino, his son diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), describing their connection as “magical.” 

In an episode of ABS-CBN’s Magandang Buhay, Nievera shared his gratitude for Santino, his youngest son who is within the autism spectrum. Nievera proudly said that Santino changed his life. 

Nagbago talaga buhay ko (My life really changed). Everything that I live for, everything that I breathe, everything that I do in life, nothing compares to the challenges in life Santino will be going through forever…Sana (I hope) we can see through the eyes of an autistic child, because there’s magic there.” he said.

He adds that because of Santino, he learned how to be a better entertainer. Nievera feels the need to always entertain Santino so that his son “doesn’t see the world as ugly” due to the constant judgment his son faces from others in public.

The singer also mentioned that he learned to stop apologizing for Santino’s condition in public. He learned to stop blaming himself for the situation Santino is in, and that he has nothing to be sorry for. He realized that the best way to help Santino is to simply be there for him, even if he isn’t physically with him all the time. 

Although Nievera only gets to see Santino every other month, he claimed that he has a special bond with his son with every interaction between the two. “I understand him. I know what he’s trying to say,” he shared

Nievera then emotionally opened up about his fears for Santino’s future once he passes away. “When he’s already on his own, who’s gonna translate [Santino’s thoughts to others]?,” he tearfully explained.

He said that he fears no one will understand or try to understand Santino’s perspective once he’s gone. “There’s some magic in the world, and we don’t know how to handle it until it happens to you,” he said.

Nievera also talked about how much he learned about his sons through his close relationships with each one: Robin, Ram, and Santino, noting “The boldness and confidence of Robin, the artistry and perfectionism of Ram. And of course, the magic and patience we have to have for Santino.”

According to the American Psychiatric Organization,  Autism Spectrum Disorder is “a complex developmental condition involving persistent challenges with social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behavior.” Although a lifelong condition, the impact of ASD on an individual’s functional capabilities varies from person to person. 

Nievera, often referred to as the “Concert King” of the Philippines, is a singer, actor, and television host known for songs such as “Forever,” “Kahit Isang Saglit,” and “Be My Lady.” – with reports from Manolo Soliven/

Manolo Soliven is a Rappler intern.

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