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De Lima seeks gov’t help for people with autism

/ 05:28 PM May 13, 2017
Sen. Leila M. de Lima. FILE PHOTO FROM SENATE PRIB/JOSEPH VIDAL

Sen. Leila M. de Lima. FILE PHOTO FROM SENATE PRIB/JOSEPH VIDAL

Senator Leila de Lima batted for the mandatory Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) coverage of persons with autism as well as the creation of an agency that would focus on the developmental disorder as a national health issue.

Senate bill 1433 seeks the provision of the necessary educational and medical support for children and adults with autism as well as their families.

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The proposed measure would mandate the government to establish a national roadmap, through the creation of the Autism Council of the Philippines, to address the disorder and provide educational and financial support.

As a national health issue, autism would fall under mandatory PhilHealth coverage, De Lima pointed out and added that Senate bill 1433 would also aim to protect children and adults with autism from discrimination.

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According to De Lima, “Autism is a developmental disability that has yet to be fully known and understood in the Philippines. And because of the lack of educational and financial support, it is only the upper and middle class families who can afford to send their autistic children to special schools.”

She added, “Undeniably, addressing the needs of these individuals in our country would require the creation of a law that will develop an integrated operational plan for autism.”

The senator cited data from the Autism Society of the Philippines which estimates one out of every 500 Filipinos have autism.

De Lima noted the necessity of conducting thorough epidemiological surveys on the true state of autism in the Philippines to provide better understanding and treatment for the developmental disability.

She further pointed out the need to address the shortage of trained and highly-skilled teachers and health providers to handle the special needs of persons with autism, saying, “These considerations reflect the urgent need to conduct a comprehensive training program for health providers all over the country in order to help these persons suffering from the disorder cope with their condition and participate as productive members of society.”

According to De Lima the set-up of a national roadmap for autism through the Autism Council of the Philippines would help raise public awareness on the developmental disorder as a national health issue. IDL

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TAGS: autism, Health, Legislation, Leila de Lima, Philhealth, Senate
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