"Trailblazer" for me is a very significant word. For me she is a person walking on a dark path, carrying a light so that others may take the journey a lot easier. And that is exactly what my heart is beating for: If I could just make the lives of other special families like me, to be somehow become better, I will do what I can do to help.
To have a child with autism is living in a constant stress, strength draining, budget busting, actually no words can really describe the great challenges we are facing everyday. We see our kids in a condition of having their own world, with out any sense of danger and can't even communicate concern. We do what we can but there is not guarantee of change and it is causing hopelessness and great depression to us parents. This experience compelled me to concentrate on helping the parents because I know that if I help parents I will be able to help the child with special needs as well. And in my heart it has been my prayers ever since to help them in whatever way I can. I begin with a small meetings of special moms at our house. It was just simple sharing of our journeys but I know, since then, that I am on the right track. From that time, I begin to attend different meetings, seminars and trainings that will add to my knowledge and skills in training parents on how to handle and help their kids with autism properly.
I want to reach out to more special families so I created a Facebook group for our families which I later on called "Autism Family Support Group." We shared our different struggles, progress stories, heartaches and many other things that will ease each others journey. And because parents can express themselves in the group with out any judgement, they recommend the group to their friends and families in the same journey. Now even families from abroad like US, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and many other countries are joining the group. From a group of around 30 special moms and dads it now grew to 7300 members all over the world, and still growing everyday. I also begin to do some actual support group meetings in different locations and public SPED schools in Cebu and all over the Philippines.
Before the COVID 19 outbreak I planned to reach more families in Luzon so I scheduled some support meetings in some key cities in Luzon. But now it evolved to online webinar, online live trainings and even making a Youtube channel. I am just new to these fields but I am thankful that these technologies are a great help in the middle of this limiting situations, which in the end it open my mind to being able to reach out not just to my city but even the world. So I realized that I need to study and pray for more tools to be able to do it. Two weeks ago, I am so happy to buy a tripod stand for my phone, and now with the help of my hubby, I am exploring and planning to improve on our tools in order to improve also our teachings and presentations.
How do I measure success? I am happy to meet families and see the smile of the parents with their kids. I have had support meeting with one parent and sometimes, hundreds of them. But the measurement I set is, if the parents were able to have new ways of learning and that it made their Ausome Journey alot easier and filled their hearts with faith and hope for the future, if I begin to see that these special parents are now beginning to have that love connection with their kids and are now being able to train them effectively at home and in their community with great hope and faith for their
future... that for me is success!