Baguio City joins World Autism Awareness Day observance

BAGUIO CITY, April 5 (PIA)–Several government and private establishments in the city joined the United Nations and the rest of world in the observance of the 12th World Autism Awareness Day last April 2 by lighting their establishments blue.
Participating establishments in the city included the Baguio City Hall, Porta Vaga Mall, Abanao Square and City Center Hotel.
The “Light It Up Blue” Initiative was started several years ago by a US-based autism advocacy organization and has been adopted by other groups and organizations around the world in recognition of people living with autism. It aims to raise public awareness on autism and highlights the need to help improve the quality of life of those who have this developmental disorder so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.
This year’s observance with the theme, “Assistive Technologies, Active Participation,” was extra special for the City because children with autism and their families shared the limelight in the UN New York Office where their own artworks were featured during the launch of the Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) Project of Autism Hearts Foundation (AHF).
FAAB uses arts as an avenue for children under the autism spectrum to express themselves, at the same time help make a bigger “world” for them as they are given the opportunity to improve their social and communication skills when they interact with others. In the Philippines, the AHF selected only three areas -Manila, Kalibo and Baguio- for the implementation of the FAAB Project.
In Baguio, 11 children with various types of autism spectrum disorder have been honing their art skills attending art sessions since September last year with the help of the City Mayor’s Office, John Hay Group of Companies, teachers from the Baguio Special Education (SPED) Center, and volunteer artists.
Amazed at the way these children interpret Cordillera designs in their drawings, the AHF decided to feature these in their FAAB Fashion Show for Hope fundraising event in New York in 2020. To jumpstart this, seven of the 11 children painted Cordillera designs on denim cloth which were then made into fashionable bags that were featured in the launch in the U.S.
The 11 children continue to have weekend sessions in preparation for the main event in April 2020, which they hope to be able to attend. Aside from art sessions, works are on the way for the Baguio group to raise awareness, and support for their endeavor. Several organizations which include the Philippine Information Agency and Department of Tourism in the Cordillera Administrative Region and the Baguio Pasakalye Group of Artists have pledged support in this aspect.
World Autism Awareness Day is one of only seven official health-specific UN Days. **JDP/JBZ- PIA CAR

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