Let’s get our information right.
Let this sink in: there are 1.2 million Filipinos falling within the autism spectrum, with many still undiagnosed. There isn’t just one type of autism, which can range from challenges with social skills, repetitive behavior and speech and nonverbal communication. And even though much has been studied about the disorder, the topic is still considered taboo among Filipinos, with misconceptions about it being genetic or caused by stress during pregnancy.
This year, Kiehl’s is partnering with the Autism Speaks Foundation, a global organization dedicated to promoting solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. They’ve come up with special packaging designed by Matthew McConaughey for the brand’s famous Ultra Face Cream, the proceeds of which will go to the foundation. Locally, Kiehl’s Philippines has partnered up with Gerald Anderson and Candy Pangilinan to support the Autism Society Philippines.
Gerald’s foundation (The Gerald Anderson Foundation) put up the Angel Dog Program, which trains therapy dogs for children with autism. These dogs provide comfort for the children when they feel scared or uncomfortable. Candy, on the other hand, has been an active advocate of early diagnosis and intervention of autism. Her journey with her son Quentin has been challenging, but every day “is a pleasant surprise,” she says. She has also become a source of advice and positivity, especially to mothers raising children with autism.
With this initiative by Kiehl’s Philippines, Gerald and Candy, along with the Autism Society Philippines, hope to break down barriers and help remove the stigma attached with autism. Staying mum and keeping the subject taboo won’t help anyone, and a simple gesture can go a long way to improving a child’s journey.
Kiehl’s x Autism Speaks Limited Edition Ultra Facial Cream retails for P3,350 for 125ml. For more information, visit their Facebook and follow them on Instagram at @KiehlsPhilippines.