As a parent, it's your duty to instill in your children the values and skills he or she will need to be able to live on his own when you are no longer around. It's one of the inevitable things in life; we can't always be around to care for our kids and we want to make sure they are prepared to take on life and be successful.
If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you would need to prepare and make arrangements for your child. Depending on their condition, there is a limit to what they'd be able to learn and do on their own, and would still need some help from other people who understand his condition.
That's the driving force behind A Special Place, a residential haven for autism community living set to rise in 9,000 square meter-lot in Alfonso, Cavite. It's a keystone project of the Association of Adults with Autism Philippines (AAAP), which aims to address the needs of adults with autism. It's set to finally open in early 2018, after years of finding the right location, a cool environment not too far away from the metro, according to a report by Inquier.net.
"Before AAAP, we were strangers to one another. We came together in AAAP, have become caring friends, bonded by a common cause -- you might say -- fear. What will happen to our charges when their parents and caregivers are no longer here? Our goal is to build a nurturing environment where these adults with autism can grow -- safely, productively, with their peers, and independently of their original families," said Dr. Lirio Sobrevinas Covey, when the project was first announced in 2012. She's a psychologist and professor of clinical psychology and research scientist at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
Dr. Covey is also a mom to her son Mickey, who was diagnosed with a "brain disorder" when he was three years old. At that time, little was known about autism. "As he becomes an adult you realize he's a different person. It is different raising a child with autism, and his needs are different. It's very beneficial for them as well as for us to be in a place where they are with peers," she said. Mikey is now 33 years old now and lives in a residential home in New York. While she's happy with where Mickey is, she says she'd rather get old here. Dr. Covey also saw that many need such a place here.
A Special Place will offer a safe, nurturing, and sustainable community where adult children with autism and special needs can thrive, maximize their abilities, enjoy an appropriate level of independence, and receive health, educational, vocational, and wellness services. They residential community will be a venue for its residents the opportunities to collaborate with local and international experts dedicated to autism and special needs research. The board of trustees of AAAP, which is composed of parents of persons with autism, will supervise its operations.
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According to the AAAP, A Special Place will consist of six individual houses, each supervised by a resident house-parent and supported by professionally trained staff. There will be building for employees and visitors' quarters, another building for administration, and infrastructure for medical, therapeutic, and research-oriented activities. There will also be facilities for educational, vocational, and recreational activities. There will be facilities where the adults with special needs can work, such as do weaving or grow vegetables. Fun places such as a library, a theater, and even an indoor basketball court, will be put up.
Every parent wants the best for their child, and while autism and special needs awareness have been growing in our country and more institutions are being more inclusive of people with special needs, we have a long way to go. With A Special Place, individuals with autism and special needs, as well as their families could be a perfect compromise for living an independent and socially fulfilled life.
A Special Place is now accepting e-mail applications for adults, 18 to 50 years old, diagnosed with autism and special needs. For more information about A Special Place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Christine Siruelo at 09178812836.