The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons with autism spectrum disorder. The ASP has been in the forefront of providing services and training to families living with autism.

08 June 2010

Senate approves 3rd Reading of Special Education Act

By: Tiffany Tan, ASP Board Secretary

Special Education Act was finally approved during the 3rd reading of the 14th Congress last May 31, 2010. The bill consolidates Senate Bill No. 2020, or the Special Education Act of 2008 with House Bill 6740 or the Special Education Act of 2009.

The 14th Congress was adjourned June 5, 2010 and will reconvene on July 26, 2010 to concur for consolidated bills to become law. The passage of the law will pave the way for the creation of a new Bureau of Special Education and mandate the creation of at least one (1) SPED center in each city and province of the country.

Children with Special needs in the Philippines

According to Education Secretary, Ms. Mona D. Valisno, only 2 percent of Filipino children with special needs are able to get support from the government unlike in other countries where they get 100 % state support.

Based on latest Department of Education (DepEd) estimates, there are 5.49 million children with special needs in the Philippines or 13 percent of the total children population. Of this number, an estimated 4.2 million were persons with disabilities.

Children with special needs (CSN) are those who are autistic, gifted or talented, mentally retarded, visually impaired, hearing impaired, orthopedically or physically handicapped, learning disabled, speech defective, children with behavior problems, and those children that encounter health problems under the formal educational system.

A child is considered to have a need to train in a SPED center if he differs from the average child based on mental characteristics, sensory abilities, neuromuscular or physical characteristics, social abilities, multiple handicaps, or has a developmental lag.

Hefty Education Budget

According to Dep Ed 227 SPED Centers all over the Philippines including 16 in Manila and six in Quezon City However, the budget released for SPED which was 84 million as of 2009, was insufficient in order to cover for the big need to put up SPED centers in hard-to- reach places.

With the passage of the Special Education Act, a P600 million yearly budget for five consecutive years for the SPED program, and a separate P20 million yearly fund from the President’s Social Fund and from the Philippine Gaming Corp. will finance the founding and operation of the BSE. (SPED Act Section 23: Appropriations)

Looking forward

According to DepEd, the creation of a New Bureau on Special Education will be tasked to:

** Formulate an appropriate curriculum and developmentally-suited programs to achieve functional literacy for all children with special needs.

**Special instructional materials (such as Braille, large-type prints, or audio-tape or computerized forms) may also be produced without penalty.

**Financial and medical assistance, including nutritional programs, to poor but deserving children with special needs will also be provided.

**Draw up incentives to encourage private sector participation in the education and rehabilitation of children with special needs such as tax deductions, loan assistance and technological or scientific assistance.

This will be a quantum leap for the special education sector because a large majority of this sector has not yet been provided with appropriate educational services, according to DepEd.


Sources: Department of Education, Philippine Senate

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ASP works hard to keep you informed about policy making and advocacy programs that advance the welfare and rights of PWA.Write your senators and congressmen for the quick approval of the Special Education Act in the 15th Congress. Be an Angel for Autism. Donate to ASP programs and services. You can also email us at autismphil@pldtdsl.net or call us at 926 6941 or 9298447.

1 comments:

Abner said...

I dearly hope that this don't encourage segregation....

Abner Manlapaz

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