BEGINNINGS AND HISTORY
For two days in October 2000, the officers and staff of Eucharistiana Center for Special Children and Learning Inn worked incessantly to make sure that everything was running smoothly for the on-going first national conference on AD/HD. The project director, Peter Mallonga, was particularly contented with the launching of the AD/HD Society of the Philippines, his brainchild and obsession for the past year when he and a group of associates—Rose A. Aligada of Learning Inn, who served as assistant project director of the conference, Dr. Marie Arranz-Lim of Child Development Center, and Dr. Stella G. Manalo of University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital—were conceptualizing the formation of the organization. They pushed for its creation because they firmly believed that only by empowering those who are most affected by the disorder—children and adults with AD/HD, and their families—can the problems be addressed. Supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, the organization was finally and formally introduced, together with its first core-group members, on October 21, 2000 to the more than 250 participants of the conference.
The launching was the final step in a long process that involved a series of brainstorming, consultations, workshops, and other meetings with different groups. A network of medical practitioners, therapists, educators, and other professionals working with children were contacted for referrals for possible collaboration. Excited by the possibility of realizing a shared vision, many of them referred parents of the children they were handling. Workshops were held for parents of children with AD/HD in several areas in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, and the Cavite-Laguna area to discuss some of their concerns and to inform them about the conference. The results of the workshop discussions were later incorporated into the content of the conference, as well as the vision-mission statement that was formulated. These workshops were spearheaded by Ms. Dess Ann B. Villaver, a conference coordinator, and assisted by the conference staff.
The members of the coregroup—namely Susana G. Pe, Marfina T. Teodoro, Carla Kalalo, Susan Martin, Marce Narcia, and Criselle Cudiamat—met during these workshops and were recognized as potential leaders. During the conference, representatives were elected by the body, and many of them became active members who continue the arduous tasks of slowly building the organization. Aside from the core-group members, some of the area representatives included Ditas V. Tuazon and Ditas Martelino for Quezon City; Maite Ortigas and Gerry dela Serna for San Juan-Mandaluyong; and Dominic Aquitania for Bulacan-Novaliches. The officers were elected by the body, with Mrs. Susana G. Pe as president. Soon after, a change in leadership was effected and Ms. Marfina T. Teodoro became the next head of the organization.
The society was envisioned to be a venue for organized efforts by parents, professionals, and concerned individuals in promoting the welfare of persons, particularly children, with AD/HD. The organization identified priority areas that need to be addressed: 1) information campaign on AD/HD through media to make people aware and recognize that AD/HD is a disorder; 2) education and training, particularly among teachers and school administrators, because many of the affected children are enrolled in schools and are discriminated upon; 3) local research on AD/HD; 4) strengthening support groups by expanding membership; 5) establishing a support center for persons with AD/HD.