The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

09 September 2011

Legarda Wants Free Special Education for Children with Disabilities

Senator Loren Legarda urges fellow lawmakers to support the bill that will provide free and suitable public education for children with disabilities to promote their integration to society and provide them opportunities afforded to other Filipinos.

Senator Loren Legarda

"As much as nine million of Filipinos suffer from disability, and we lack the government support even for the most basic of rights as free education for handicapped children," Legarda lamented.

The World Health Organization estimates about 10% of Filipinos are living with some form of disability. Among them include people who suffer from autism, blindness, deafness, muteness, and physical or orthopedic impairments.

"Disability also disproportionately afflicts the poor due to various environmental factors that they are exposed to, and that is why we need the government to step in and provide support for this highly disadvantaged and vulnerable group who cannot afford specialized education. We cannot rely solely on the remarkable efforts from cause-oriented groups and charitable organizations that aid children with disabilities," she said.

Legarda cited a study conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific that puts the percentage of children with disabilities who are enrolled in formal educational institutions at 2%.

The Senator's proposed Senate Bill 1427 guarantees the right to access education of the disabled and seeks to establish a Special Educational Center in provinces, cities, and municipalities to provide free and suitable pre-elementary and elementary education for children with disabilities.

The centers are geared towards preparing handicapped children for integration with non-handicapped peers as they pursue higher education. The Department of Education, in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, will determine the programs suitable taking into account the children's aptitude handicaps.

"A vast majority of persons with disabilities are not able to acquire even elementary school education, making it more difficult for them to contribute financially to their families.

It should be national policy that we harness future talents and guarantee opportunities for our fellow Filipinos who are disadvantaged by lifelong impairments," she concluded.

Source: Philippine Senate

Legarda Wants Free Special Education for Children with Disabilities


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