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Art auction to benefit 'A Special Place'

February 19, 2012 8:05am
"The Garden" by Matthew Aragon and other paintings by adults with autism will be up for silent auction.
The Association for Adults with Autism, Philippines (AAAP) will host an art auction to benefit A Special Place, the first residential community in the country for adults with autism on February 20, 2012, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Reading Room of Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati City.

A selection of paintings by adults with autism will be up for silent auction. The remarkable young artists who donated their artworks for the cause are Matthew Aragon, Vico Cham and Andrei Macapagal.

A Special Place is the flagship project of AAAP, a non-profit group conceived and established by parents of persons with autism. The association aims to provide sustained enrichment opportunities and long-term care to these individuals as well as offer means to achieve personal growth, social interaction, and a cooperative life among their peers.

“We envision A Special Place as a nurturing community where adults with autism can thrive and achieve the full potential of their personhood. There will be programs to help residents develop their social and cognitive abilities, apply their learned skills in work opportunities, as well as engage in enjoyable recreational activities,” said Lirio Sobreviñas-Covey, President of AAAP.

Covey is currently Professor of Clinical Psychology and Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University in New York. She is mother to 33-year old Mikey, an adult with autism who now lives in a residential community also in New York.

Autism is a neurological condition characterized by a range and variety of behavioural and cognitive impairments. New psychological and social needs emerge as children with autism age and develop into adults. To date, it is estimated that there are more than 1 million Filipinos with autism.

“Autism is a lifelong disorder. Early intervention, occurring as early as the first two years of life, has been shown to improve language and socialization, but continued intervention and education throughout the course of the individual’s life is beneficial,” said Covey.

A Special Place will initially consist of 6 individual homes located within the same campus with 6 residents and house parents assigned per unit. The residents will receive 24/7 supervision and care.

Working on the concept of “nature therapy”, AAAP already identified a site south of Manila. The chosen location fits the following requirements: cool environment, flood-free area, and relatively near a metropolitan area.

“Our focus now is to raise enough funds to make this dream a reality especially now that more and more Filipinos are diagnosed with autism. We’ll not always be here for our children and we believe it’s high time to have a facility here in the country that specifically caters to the needs of adults with autism, a place where they can enjoy a secure, independent, and comfortable life,” added Covey.

For more information on A Special Place and AAAP, contact Carissa Villacorta at +639175955480 or send an email to adultautismphil@gmail.com. You may also visit http://adultautismphil.wordpress.com.

Press release and photo from Association for Adults with Autism, Philippines