Tag Archives: Intellectual Disability

Being SPED-ready

In the Philippines, an educational institution has become “SPED-ready”: the Carmona National High School (CNHS) in Cavite.

“SPED-ready” is a term The PWD Forum will use from now on in describing schools that let students—with disabilities or none—learn together. It was its belief to either integrate special education to the basic and secondary curriculum of the schools in the Philippines or teach sign language. It would help the country’s economy if almost all of its citizens are skilled and, since its population is ageing, everyone is qualified to meet the labor demands of globalization.

So for its part, the CNHS has launched socialization activities that give practical training to PWDs. “Hindi namin itinatago ang mga [estudyanteng may] IDs (intellectual disability) ditto (Here, we do not hide our students with intellectual disabilities),” CNHS principal Teresita Silan was quoted in a report.

It has inspired high school student Bernadette Levardo to hang out instead of tucking herself in. She now aims to be a chef, buy a house, and own a restaurant.

“Through the transition program, Bernadette was trained, she improved her social skills, and it boosted her confidence. I was even amazed she was able to deliver a speech just recently in senior high school,” her teacher, Estie Manguiat, has remarked in the same report.

Integration could allow PWDs and non-PWDs alike to develop their skills and interact independently. Even Student Inclusion Division head Nancy Pascual of the DepEd central office has come to see that development and social adaptation are much faster with interaction.

In CNHS, this is done through a seating arrangement that lets PWDs and non-PWDs sit together. Non-SPED educators are also regularly trained to be sensitive to a PWDs’ needs and pace of learning by the local government’s Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO). The school has forged partnerships with fast food chains and factories in their town, too, to promote employment.

As of now, the Philippines can already boast of schools that are “SPED-ready”. The only thing to work on is an “upgrade” of these educational institutions into learning resource centers (LRCs) to get a mainstream school enroll PWDs.

“Specialized equipment are lodged in the learning resource centers. Any school that has PWD enrollment will be able to access it anytime of the year. This addresses the financial side. Instead of going to SPED schools far from their homes, they could just enroll in the nearest school to their residence, which is not necessarily a SPED center.” ~ Nancy Pascual

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Rappler

ID in Poland

The only certainty is that there had been 130,000 adults with intellectual disabilities in Poland 13 years ago.

And only those with legal disability status—those aged 16 or over—and living in households are included in the figure. Those living in institutions are not counted.

In Poland, the rights of its citizens with intellectual disabilities are guaranteed in its constitution. The country has ratified “most important international human rights instruments,” too, with the exception of the revised European Social Charter and Protocol No. 12 to the ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights].

Still, it has no anti-discrimination legislation that applies specifically to education. Only that the education system is regulated by the Act on the Education System that enables every children and young people with disabilities in Poland to study at any type of school or to individual teaching, curricula and classes.

The assessment procedures for placing PWDs under guardianship are also not sufficient; the courts usually impose plenary, rather than partial, guardianship for people with intellectual disabilities. The PWDs in Poland have no legal support if ever their guardians violate their rights.

There are computer software and devices nowadays that could alleviate the situation, however. Aside from touch screens, interactive whiteboards, and hand-held tablets, generic and tailor-made Apps have already been developed for on-the-merging tablets, most particularly the iPad, to cater to almost every facet of learning, therapy, communication and engagement. These tools and strategies are collectively called AAC [Augmentative and Alternative Communication].

AAC can help students with communication impairments to express themselves. Its ultimate goal is functional communication, self-advocacy and independence.

“Providing real access to education and employment for people with intellectual disabilities is critical to ensuring that they can live and work in the community as equal citizens.” ~Open Society Foundation

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Respect For People with Intellectual Disabilities

THOC2

Judging from how persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Moldova can still study, defend themselves, and live independently, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) reported that the said country ’has made significant strides to further advancing the rights of children and adults with disabilities in the country’. Its education system has become more inclusive and community-based services have been developed.

Many, however, continue to be denied the support they need to be fully included in the Moldovan society. Many processes regarding the educational system and community-based programs are far from complete, too. In particular are the 1,716 children with mental or intellectual impairments that remain in segregated educational institutions. Not all of them are receiving support they need to access inclusive schooling.

About 3,000 to 4,000 Moldovans are ‘stripped of the right to decide for themselves, and are under the control of guardians’. Many were reported to be leaving PWDs in closed institutions against their will, using the disability allowances of the latter, controlling their assets, and prohibiting them from basic socio-legal acts.

The PWD Forum could only hope that the finding of Dr. Raman Sharma from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute will lessen cases of intellectual disability. Together with some researchers from Europe, he has discovered the “novel gene,” which when mutated, causes intellectual disability in 1 in 50 individuals.

“We have identified four mutations in the THOC2 gene in four families. The defected gene is found in males who have an intellectual disability – females in the families are carriers of the gene mutation but are not affected by the condition. Protein coded by the THOC2 gene is part of a large protein complex that is fundamental for all living human cells and essential for normal development and function,” Dr. Sharma, lead author of the paper, was quoted in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

To date, Dr. Sharma is poised to know more about familial gene mutations.

“But that’s just the first step. Before we can develop a treatment for a condition, we first need to understand what is going on in the body and discover how a specific defected gene causes a particular disease.”

“Advanced genetic technologies have accelerated the discovery of genes responsible for diseases like epilepsy, autism, intellectual disability and other neurological disorders. But the number of genetic conditions in which we have functional understanding of the mutated genes can be counted on two hands.”

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the Biology Videos