Tag Archives: Special Education

Inclusive Education in the Philippines

It all started with a handbook.

The manual, The Handbook on Policies and Guidelines for Special Education, embodied the general principles of special education in the Philippines. It was discussed by no less than the school administrators in the country, as well as the teachers, persons with disabilities, their parents, professionals and community leaders during the 1987 Orientation Conferences in SPED.

Then three more books were disseminated. They were the Handbook on Educating the Gifted, which could guide the organization of SPED programs; the Livelihood Education Instructional Materials for Children with Special Needs, which could improve instruction on livelihood skills for children with special needs; and the Revised Filipino Braille Code, which could become the resource of teachers and volunteers of in-school and out-of-school blind children.

Six years later, the program Basic Education for All was expanded to meet the basic learning needs of disadvantaged groups including the PWDs. Trainers for the special education program was also organized the following year to form the Regional Special Education Council (RSEC).

All divisions were obliged to organize at least one SPED Center during the SY 1997-1998. Among of the aims was to support PWDs so that they can be integrated in regular schools eventually. All districts were asked to organize SPED programs in schools where there are identified children with special needs, too. They would be assisted by teachers and administrators who have had trainings in SPED.

The salary grades for SPED teachers and principals were revised in Republic Act No. 6758 (An Act Prescribing a Revised Compensation and Position Classification System in the Government and for Other Purposes). Financial subsidies were allotted to 103 SPED schools in October 10, 2008; to 207 in February 11, 2009; to 227 in May 17, 2010; to 43 in December 8, 2010; to 276 in September 2, 2011; to 345 in March 21, 2012; and to 153 in April 10, 2012. Instructional materials were also provided in May 17, 2010; August 24, 2011; and January 10, 2012.

In September 28, 1999, those who were physically handicapped were exempted from taking the National Elementary Achievement Test (NEAT) for the grade school level and the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT) for the high school level due to lack of facilities, trained facilitators, and testing aides.

SPED in public schools had been strengthened the following month, too, following a study that there are 2% PWDs in any given population. During the SY 1998-1999, in fact, out of the 12,474,886 total enrollments in public and private schools, an estimated 249,497 were PWDs. Only 60,531 of them were said to be “provided with educational services responding to their potentials,” though.

SPED at the secondary level were strengthened a bit later. Then it took sometime before every SPED-related school personnel were trained by the Bureau of Elementary Education (BEE) through the Special Education (SPED) Division in providing formal education to those with mental retardation, learning disability, hearing impairment, visual impairment, autism, and multiple disabilities.

Still, only 2% of the targeted 2.2 million PWDs in the country would go to school. So in July 6, 2009, the Department of Education (DepED) included in its School Improvement Plan (SIP) an education within an inclusive classroom setting.

More or less 200 SPED Teacher Items were distributed to 17 regions that need the allocation more. Then eight months after, the Advisory Council for the Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities (ACECYD) was organized to provide “the official platform for constructive exchange and action planning.”

The DepEd through the Bureau of Elementary Education (BEE) and the Bureau of Secondary Education (BSE) enumerated in September 13, 2013 what disabilities its program can handle as well as how many PWDs only. These “exceptionalities” include autism, behavior problems, learning disability, multiple handicapped, chronically ill, orthopedically handicapped, developmentally handicapped, speech defective, hearing impairment, visual impairment, and intellectual disability. It had also implemented guidelines for the hearing and visually impaired learners in selected regions and divisions interested with the Alternative Learning System for Persons With Disability (ALS for PWD) Program.

“Engaging the participation of every sector is ensuring the delivery of quality basic education for every Filipino learner. We intend to review and fortify every possible partnership to ensure that, at the end of the day, our learners are enabled to move past the limits of their background and to move toward a life of competence and opportunities.” ~ Leonor Magtolis Briones

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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

Disability in order

Countries with institutions on social security are one and the same in considering the following disabilities to be given benefits (in alphabetical order) –

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Alcohol or Drug Addiction

Allergies

Alopecia areata

Amputation

Anxiety Disorder

Arthritis

Asthma

Autism and Asperger’s

Bipolar Disorder

Burn Injury

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Celiac disease

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Chronic Migraines

Chronic Pain

Cleft lip and palate

COPD and Emphysema

Coronary Artery Disease

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease

Cystic fibrosis

Degenerative Disc Disease

Depression

Diabetes

Disorders of the Spine

Dwarfism

Dyscalculia

Eating disorders

Eczema

Endometriosis

Epilepsy

Fetal alcohol syndrome

Fibromyalgia

GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

Gout

Growth hormone deficiency

Hearing Loss

Heart Failure

Hepatitis

High Blood Pressure

HIV/AIDS

Huntington’s disease

Inflammatory bowel disease

Interstitial Cystitis

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Kidney Failure

Lactose intolerance

Liver Disease

Lupus, or systemic lupus erythmaosus

Lyme Disease

Mono(nucleosis)

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Muscular dystrophy

Narcolepsy

Neuropathy, Peripheral Neuropathy

Obesity

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Organic Mental Disorders (incuding Organic Brain Syndrome)

Panic Attacks

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Psorias

PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RSD, or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Ruptured Disc

Schizophrenia

Scleroderma

Scoliosis

Seizure Disorder

Sickle cell anemia

Sleep Apnea

Spina bifida

Spinal cord injury

Stroke (CVA, Cerebrovascular Accident)

Thyroid disease

Tourette syndrome

Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI

Turner syndrome

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcers

Vision Loss

Williams syndrome

There are disabilities, though, that are “invisible.” Examples of these are renal failure, agoraphobia, arachnoiditis, Coeliac Disease, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Fructose Malabsorption, Hyperhidrosis, Hypoglycemia, Interstitial Cystitis, Myasthenia Gravis, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Schnitzler’s Syndrome, Scleroderma, Sjagren’s syndrome, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, and Transverse Myelitis.

It is, thus, necessary, beneficial, and practicable to integrate special education (SPED) in the basic and secondary curriculum of every country.

One doesn’t have to finish grade school and high school first before being given the option to study SPED.

A certain illness could be discovered and considered a disability at any given moment, too.

SPED would be the saying “prevention is better than cure” practiced.

Currently, 19% of the less educated people have disabilities1. Eighty percent of the PWDs, too, live in developing countries2.

Disability rates are significantly higher, too, among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with lower educational attainment.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, from prekindergarten to elementary and secondary, to special education, to technical and higher education and beyond.” ~ Jim Jeffords

1 Based on the information collated by the United Nations

2 Based on the information collated by the UN Development Programme

 

Video from the YouTube Cannel of Julia Davila

On Technology

Last year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities focused on the role of technology in (1) disaster risk reduction and emergency responses, (2) creating enabling working environments, and (3) disability-inclusive sustainable development goals. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) can benefit from it, the secretary general of the United Nations believed, only that ‘too many lack access to these essential tools.’

The special rapporteur on the rights of PWDs and the special envoy of the secretary-general on Disability and Accessibility even congratulated the organization’s member states ‘for promising advances in a post-2015 development agenda which is sustainable, inclusive and accessible.’ The 151 member states have been ensuring the realization of Article 11 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as well as the commitment of the special representative of the secretary-general on Disaster Risk Reduction; Japan; and the Nippon Foundation.

There really is no doubt that adaptive, assistive and inclusive technology can let PWDs ‘make the most of their potential in their communities and in the workplace.’ All of them can increase, maintain, and improve the functional capabilities of PWDs.

But 80% of the PWDs are in third-world countries. They have not much money to spend for food, more so for an electronic device that could help them do the most basic of things. Nothing else could alleviate this fact except for more understanding on climate change and special education for all.

PWDs have a higher prevalence of mortality during disaster situations—up to 2 to 4 times—compared to non-PWDs ‘due to inaccessible evacuation, response (including shelters, camps, and food distribution), and recovery efforts.’ Simply using mass transit, reusing a grocery sack, eating nutritiously, and unplugging electronic devices that are not in use can assuage the impacts of climate change.

Prevention is better than cure, too. And there’s no other way through it but an increased awareness only special education to everybody could bring. Each of the illness leading to disability has been caused by a factor or two. It would be wise to understand why it has been so. Moreover, all of us either are or will become disabled during the course of our lives. How technology can be accessed affordably should be thought of as well as how to solve climate change and how to provide special education to all.

“On this day in which we remind ourselves of the situation of persons with disabilities around the globe, it is important, first of all, to resist the temptation to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Instead we must remind ourselves that disability is part of the human condition: all of us either are or will become disabled to one degree or another during the course of our lives.” ~WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan’s message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2014 (IDPD, 2014)

SPED for All

Special education (SPED) refers to classroom or private instruction involving techniques and exercises for persons with disabilities (PWDs) whose learning needs cannot be met by the standard school curriculum.

Its inclusion in the United States started after the Second World War. Then it was introduced in the Philippines by David Prescott Barrows, an American anthropologist who had established the Insular School for the Deaf and the Blind in Manila (later renamed as School for the Deaf and Blind).

In the United Arab Emirates, an agreement was signed with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in November 2006. There’s also the Federal Law 29/2006 that assures every PWD in the country, and the UAE Disability Act that promises its nationals with special needs of ‘the same rights to work and occupy public positions, special facilities at airport and hotels, access to public vehicles and parking, and equitable access and facilities into all new property development projects,” among others.

It also mandates both public and private schools to accept a child with special needs (SN) who wishes to enroll in them. There would be vocational and rehabilitation centers and every effort would be made to take in special needs students in mainstream educational settings.

One of its emirates, Abu Dhabi, has partnered with the New England Center for Children to establish a comprehensive education program in either English or Arabic. Its fourth largest city, Al Ain, has a sports club that could train PWDs for the Special Olympics.

I still think, though, that integrating SPED in the basic and secondary curriculum is necessary, beneficial, and practicable. I had hinted about that in my first post and mentioned it particularly in the introduction of this blog.

“I discovered early that the hardest thing to overcome is not a physical disability but the mental condition which it induces. The world, I found, has a way of taking a man pretty much at his own rating. If he permits his loss to make him embarrassed and apologetic, he will draw embarrassment from others. But if he gains his own respect, the respect of those around him comes easily.” ~ Alexander de Seversky

 

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of GreatSchools