"If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn." - Ignacio Estrada
Education is a basic human right. No one should ever be denied of such. And, in the pursuit of universal access to quality education, the idea of inclusion is highly ecouraged. Inclusion underscores the significance of an embracing academic institution for one's growth and development. Having this said, it is expected that the world gives an avenue to all children to receive education regardless of age, gender, social status, etc. Good to know, the world already widens its horizon as it has also already opened its portals for the 'special ones'.
Around 8.1% of Filipino children between 0 and 18 years old have disabilities. This is equal to roughly 3 million kids based on local estimates cited by UNICEF. Millions of kids whose life seems to be unfortunate for some people, whose life seems to be underprivileged. I feel sorry for them because they are not able to live a normal life and I know for a fact that the world is harsh especially to those 'diffetent'.
But, different is special. And, they are not special for nothing.
Special education (also known as special needs education, aided education, exceptional education or Special Ed) is the practice of educating students in a way that addresses their individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings. These interventions are designed to help individuals with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self- sufficiency and success in school and in their community which may not be available if the student were only given access to a typical classroom education.
Personally, I have seen the situation of special children who are deprived of education. I have a nephew who is considered to be 'special'. Well, I cannot label him with any disorder or special case for he has not been diagnosed with any yet. Since his parents did not have him checked up by medical professionals, his case is still enigmatic for us. But because I was already introduced to a wide array of topics that concern disabilities and disorders and as signs suggest, I believe my nephew is suffering from ADHD.
He is Christopher Jr., a ten-year-old boy who was once given an opportunity to enter school. However, this chance is short- lived. He went to a Day Care Center but after about two weeks, his parents surrendered for, accordingly, they could not endure his restlessness, impulsiveness, low frustration tolerance, tantrums. There was even a point where he erased the writings on the board as the discussion was going on. As I have known this, I pondered on the issue of children with special needs.
In order for individuals with special needs to be independent and productive members of the society, their needs should be identified, and they should be provided with the necessary training environments and services.
As a community, we must come together to build a truly inclusive education system, with the recognition that every child, given the appropriate support and care based on their individual needs, can reach their full potential and achieve their dreams. We must acknowledge that many of the barriers standing in our way are not merely physical, but also social and attitudinal.
Having been able to learn more on Special Education is such an amazing experience. It is life- changing and I have gained a more understanding perspective.
Primordially, the value of education is accentuated with this subject. I have learned that our country is really moving forward on inclusive education. Moreso, this subject offers a keener look on the underpinning factors of what we call special education.
We started learning the basics. What does Specicial Education mean? What are the legal support for such? What are the issues, challenges, and trends in this regard? All these things are discussed thoroughly. Our discussions inside the classroom shed light on the concepts. The interaction that we had contributed to formation of knowledge.
As we were able to watch the movie "The Gift" starring Nash Aguas and Sharlene San Pedro, we were introduced to a story of family, love, and friendship. I have learned that the support- system of special children means a lot. Giving them due holistic support might not
Experts believe that the vast majority of students with disabilities — more than 80 percent — can meet the same academic standards as other students, when they have the right support.
In short, with the right support, children learn better together. In adulthood, they will be more likely to embrace diversity, respect differences and fight for equality, not only for themselves but also for others. This is the foundation we need to foster a truly inclusive society.
Undoubtedly, they are within our power to change. What we need is commitment. Our children deserve the chance to learn together and from each other. As role models, we must enable them to access these opportunities.