• NGO to put up library for people with disabilities

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    THE country will soon have a library for people with disabilities including those with autism.

    This was revealed over the weekend by Maricel Diaz, head of the Library for the Blind of the National Library during the 9th World Autism Awareness Day celebration at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

    “We are now in the process of expanding our Library for the Blind to include those with autism because there is no library for them and yet they also need reading materials. We are also expanding our Library for the Blind in other areas like in Baguio, Butuan City and Cebu City,” Diaz said.

    She said they aim to set up the project next year upon the completion of the renovation of the National Library.

    She also pointed out that not only have the visually impaired been serviced by the Library for the Blind, they have also hired an employee who is visually impaired.

    Christine Siruelo, corporate secretary of the Association for Adults with Autism Philippines (AAAP), during the ceremonies, welcomed the initiatives of the National Library saying it is the kind of endeavor that people with autism and their families have been pushing for.

    “The period of raising awareness on autism has passed and now is the time to push for their inclusion in society as productive members. This is the reason why we want to promote the fact that people with autism can be hired in companies because we have proven that they can work as efficiently and with more passion as normal employees,” she stated.

    AAAP also gave special awards to ten persons with autism who are working in different government agencies and private organizations in the country.

    They are Gabriel Atienza and Andrei Morales, who both work as special education teachers, Magiting Gonzales who works at the National Children’s Hospital, Michael Almendrala at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Clarence Cruz at the Department of Health, Victor Cham who works at United Laboratories, Gian Carlo Mendoza and Randy Motoomull who both work at Univet Nutrition, and Joe Marie Espinosa and Raichan Dearoz who are working at the office of the Mayor of Carmona, Cavite.

    Siruelo said they will continue to push for inclusion of people with autism until the labor force allots 1 percent of the labor force to people with disabilities.

    “We want to make sure that even if we as parents are not anymore here, our children can live normal lives with their own career and a way to support themselves in a society that is accepting and understanding of their condition,” Siruelo said.

    JAIME PILAPIL

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