The Creation of a Separate Bureau for Sped in the Philippines

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Creating a Bureau of Special Education is an outright attempt to confuse not only the children but also the personnel involved.

It is a simple contradiction to the very thrust of Special education which is to mainstream the children with special needs.

The Department's SPED has already been implementing the following instructional programs:

Self-contained or special class is a separate class for only one type of exceptionality that serves moderate to severe types of disabilities.

Itinerant teaching is another program wherein the SPED teacher travels to reach out to children with special needs in other schools or at home to provide direct and consultative services.

Resource room is a designated place where the child with special needs enrolled in the regular school system goes to in order to a specialized equipment either in a tutorial situation or in a small group session handled by a SPED teacher.

Pull-out is a kind of initiative where the child enrolled in the regular class reports to the resource room for a period of time for special instructions by the SPED teacher.

In integration and mainstreaming, the child with special needs is enrolled in a regular class with support services depending on the degree of integration.  In partial integration, the child enrolled in a special class is integrated with regular children in non-academic activities like work education, physical education, arts, school program, among others and then gradually integrated in the academic subjects when qualified.  IN full integration, the child joins the regular class in all academic and non-academic subjects.

The last but not the least is the inclusion - the child with disabilities, regardless of the nature and severity of her disability and need for related services, receive total education within the regular classroom program.

With all these pronounced prior to the motion to create a separate bureau for special education, posed an utter contradiction of mainstreaming. If 2 teachers: a general education teacher and a SPED teacher struggle to meet for consultancy after class and harmoniously work together in a classroom while they are under one umbrella of the DepED, would there be more of a complications to separate them: different supervisors, paper trail procedures, legal descriptions of every single item in the dictionary of Special Education; pointless to say differences in remuneration (a newly graduate sped teacher might be getting more than tenure gen ed techer is); eligibility requirements etc. This is going to be a very complex maze of a circus that the observer may label illogical and a waste of time.

This school year, the DepED has started accepting children with multiple disabilities.  They have trained teachers to handle various disabilities.  The government has been pointing out to every sector that concerns themselves with the welfare of children with special needs that they have to know these children’s right and fight for them. Every teacher is trained to have the clinical eye to detect any possible risk in learning.

This alone takes more than a decade to achieve and still we, the teachers, are still struggling to become competent to handle classes with special children, worst, special class. We have been demoralized by already monumental impediments such as lack of classrooms, untrained teachers, untrainable teachers who firmly believe that their years of service in the field of education had already made them experts and earned the rights to be left alone and not challenge by the change of taking in a special class or special child in their regular class.

Not to mention that there are very dedicated teachers who sought to be trained just to understand and thus do their job to help those children who are at risk and with learning disability. These same dedicated willing teachers and principal are denied the support of their superiors: district superintendent, division head and those on the...
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