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  • Candy Pangilinan On Having A Teenager With Autism: What We Take For Granted Are Gifts Pala

    The mom of one was overcome with emotions talking about her son Quentin
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
Candy Pangilinan On Having A Teenager With Autism: What We Take For Granted Are Gifts Pala
PHOTO BY @candypangilinan/Instagram
  • As a popular quote by singer-songwriter Bob Marley goes, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” Nowhere is this truer than in the case of parents of kids with special needs.

    For actress Candy Pangilinan, whose 16-year-old son Quentin was diagnosed with autism when he was just a little over a year old, having a special child taught her not only to be strong, but to also recognize that she had a lot of potential within her.

    “Feeling ko, because of the need to be able to support Quentin, ang daming talent na lumalabas po sa akin,” Candy said in between tears during the press event for her contract renewal with Viva Entertainment the other day.   

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    “I think because of the situation, I’ve learned to survive and I’ve learned to develop so many other things other than acting,” she told Pep.ph’s Jojo Gabinete.

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    Caring for a child with special needs is a lifetime commitment, and Candy believes this has made her into a better person over the years. She believes she is now calmer, more cautious about what she says around Quentin, and more prayerful.

    In a 2011 interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, Candy revealed that Quentin’s diagnosis did not shock her anymore when it came; instead, she just focused on what needed to be done. She puts a lot of pressure on herself to do right as a parent because she knows Quentin is fully dependent on her. 

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    “Kawawa sya if I do something wrong. You just have to surrender. It’s a given eh. Being a single mom is hard enough. Being a single mom with a special child is a different story.

    “The more na nararamdaman ko na, ‘I have to do my best for you to be well, to be functional, to be a better person,’” she said.

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    In a separate occasion in 2017, Candy admitted that sometimes, her resolve to remain strong as a mom wavers. Parents of special children have a tendency to blame themselves for their child’s different abilities — like she did — but Candy would like to correct that mindset.

    “Punta tayo sa solusyon. If we dwell [on] the problem, walang mangyayari,” she told talk show host Boy Abunda.

    As she now prepares to face new challenges raising a teenager wih special needs, Candy only feels grateful.

    “‘Yong simpleng pagsalita, pag-communicate, pag-open ng hands, ‘yon po ‘yong mga bagay na hirap na hirap na ginawa ng anak ko. ‘Yong pag-pick up ng 25 cents, ‘di ba ho? 

    “[There are] so many things we take for granted that I realize, ‘Wow, it’s a gift pala.’” 

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