More jobs for people with autism sought in PH

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More jobs for people with autism sought in PH

ALL SMILES. The crowd of the Autism Society Philippines’ Angels Walk for Autism smile for the camera at SM Mall of Asia Arena on April 21.

Ian Capoquian/Rappler

More than 22,000 participants join the Angels Walk for Autism to raise awareness about the need for more disability-inclusive livelihood opportunities where Filipinos with autism can thrive

MANILA, Philippines – Limited livelihood opportunities for people with autism are often exacerbated by societal misconceptions and insufficient support systems.

In the Angels Walk for Autism event organized by the Autism Society Philippines (ASP) on Sunday, April 21, some 22,000 participants, including individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, raised awareness about the need for more disability-inclusive livelihood opportunities where Filipinos with autism can thrive.

With the theme, “Kakaiba, kasali, katrabaho (Unique, included, colleague)” the event featured a talent showcase from performers on the autism spectrum, talks from advocates, and a walk, among others.

Unequal opportunities

ASP national spokesperson Mona Magno-Veluz pointed out that economic empowerment for individuals on the autism spectrum comes with high stakes given the difficulties they are confronted with from job seeking to work deployment.

“We are very aware of the limited opportunities for job seekers on the spectrum – our children. Many think of autism as a condition of the young, rather than a condition that is present in adults,” Magno-Veluz said in an interview with Rappler.

One instance where this can be seen, as per Magno-Veluz, is during job interviews. “The most obvious challenge for job seekers on the spectrum is that they do not interview well. This difficulty makes our job seekers frustrated as it stops them even before they get too far.”

Acknowledging that not all people may fit in traditional work spaces, she emphasized the need for other forms of livelihoods where people on the spectrum can excel like entrepreneurship, freelancing, and artistry.

Person, Adult, Male
WORK, WORK, WORK. Buboy Dolor and students of Hopewell Integrated School perform a song and dance number clad in outfits representing different work fields during the Angels Walk talent show at SM MOA Arena on April 21.
Inclusive employment

ASP national president Lorenzo Sumulong highlighted some of their ongoing livelihood projects in support of inclusive employment, such as the ASP Autism Work, a career placement initiative that offers job coaching and sensitivity training to coach its partner companies and organizations to better handle potential employees on the spectrum.

ASP Project GourmA and Project ChocolatA are also programs catering to aspiring culinary chefs on the spectrum.

Additionally, there are ASP programs that provide platforms for individuals where they can harness their skills and learn to be independent in the workforce. Among these are ASP ARTismo, a culture and arts platform where people on the spectrum can express their creativity through workshops and exhibits, and ASP AutisMALL, an online marketplace by and for individuals on the spectrum.

“These initiatives not only champion the cause of autism acceptance, but also strive to create inclusive opportunities for individuals of the autism spectrum,” Sumulong said. 

ON BOARD. Advocates, individuals on the spectrum, and their families commence the ASP Angels Walk for Autism en route from the SM MOA Arena to the SM Music Hall.

With the challenges employees and job seekers on the autism spectrum face, Magno-Veluz emphasized the importance of helping families and employers to create a kinder and more genuine work environment for individuals with autism. 

“We advocate with our partner employers for an equitable screening process that also tests practical skills and problem-solving skills to give them a better chance at showing off their strengths and getting hired,” she said.

For an empowered workforce on the spectrum to be emboldened, Magno-Veluz also called on everyone to be proactive supporters, specifically the public, on digital spaces.

“It is not enough to rally behind ‘autism awareness.’ We need action. We need acceptance, accommodation, and appreciation – especially in the workplace,” she said. – Adelainne Balbin/

Adelainne Balbin is a Rappler intern from the Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila. She is currently in her fourth year in college taking up Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

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