Autism is a developmental disability that severely hinders the way information is gathered and processed by the brain, causing problems in communication, learning and social behaviours.
It typically appears during the child’s first three years, occurs in roughly 15-20 of every 10,000 births and is four times more common in males than females.
People with autism live normal life spans and some of the behaviours associated with it may change or disappear over time.
In 1996, Former President Fidel Ramos signed Presidential Proclamation 771, which mandates the whole nation to celebrate Autism Consciousness Week (ACW) every third week of January to raise the public’s awareness of autism and to promote the rights and welfare of persons with autism.
Last January 16, the Autism Society Philippines- Davao Chapter together with SM City Davao, kicked of the week-long celebration with the Angels’ Walk. The walk projects the message of support to families with members with autism as various groups walk side-by-side with people with autism. Among the participants of the parade were the SM City Davao admin personnel, ILLC Davao, Davao Stepping Stone Foundation, Healing Hands Center-Davao, Down Syndrome Association Philippines, other civic organizations and private individuals who believe in the awareness advocacy.
The 15th Autism Consciousness Week was also marked with the Colors of ‘A’ Spectrum 2 Photo Exhibit. The exhibit which ran from January 16-20 showcased photos taken during the photo workshop in November 2010 at the Malagos Garden Resort, which aimed to promote awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder through interaction opportunities between volunteers photographers and participants with autism. The workshop also provided a venue for families to get together.
All SM Supermalls across the country were actively involved in the celebration as part of SM’s corporate social responsibility program SM Cares Committee on Disability Affairs.