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.

24 September 2012

Celebrating Teachers



By DANG U. KOE, ASP Chair Emeritus

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher. A good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold. Some teachers just have a knack for working with autistic children. Other teachers do not have it. If you find a good teacher, hang on to him or her tight,” Temple Grandin.

On October 5, 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III, declared the first Friday of September to October 5 as National Teachers' Month, to generate public awareness and support of the World Teachers' Day (October 5) in the country. The proclamation is essential to revitalize the image of teaching as a vocation by increasing public awareness on the value of teachers in Philippine society and for national development.

This week’s Angel Talker, Tiffany Tan, looks at how the role of educators as a partner in the holistic development of a child takes on a greater dimension in the lives of families living with autism. 

***********

Successful PWAs look back

Temple Grandin, professor of animal science in the Colorado State University, often mentions her high school science teacher, William Carlock, and attributing him to having a positive influence in her life. In her HBO Biopic, Dr. Carlock encourages her to go further into science as a career and to eventually attend college. Temple Grandin is now a best-selling author, inventor, designer and consultant of cattle design facilities, and prolific autism advocate, traveling around the world to inspire others.

At the recently concluded 5th Regional Autism Conference in Carmona, Cavite, the panel interview with adults with autism "Home Run: PWAs in Action" brought out how educators were a critical piece in their development.  While each have met their share of “good” and “bad” teachers, their personal growth is a testament to how the educators in their lives -- their parents, therapists, behaviorists and school teachers -- succeeded in molding them into productive and involved members of society.

For Gerard Atienza, a self-advocate and active member of the Autism Society Philippines, the life-changing roles of teachers resonate loudly.  A graduate of De La Salle University, Gerard is currently taking up his Certificate in Teaching Program at the Philippine Normal University, pursuant to pushing his goal to become a teacher. Gerard is often seen volunteering his time for PVI Foundation, Inc. during their Kamp Pagkakaisa, a ten-day summer camp for children with special needs. The group also conducts yearly seminar training for volunteer teachers for children with special needs.   At the recently concluded Regional Autism Conference, Gerard shared his dream of founding the Knights for Autism.  He envisioned this to be a national organization for persons with autism, ran by persons with autism; giving seminars and lectures to empower people with autism.

Honoring SPED Educators in the Philippines

According to Education Secretary Armin Luistro, special needs teachers play a very important role in making Education For All (EFA) a reality. He said inclusive education should be available to all learners including those with special needs and thanks SPED teachers for their exemplary work on these children.

On the first quarter of this year, the Department of Education announced winners of the 2011 National Search for Outstanding Special Education Teachers. DepEd also accorded some 30 scholarships to selected teachers on autism nationwide this summer, to address the growing need for training.

During the abovementioned Regional Conference on Autism, Carmona Mayor Dahlia Loyola brought the conference delegates to her town’s Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) and SPED center. Delegates were surprised to find out that the Municipal Government actually allocates funds exclusively for the training of teachers on Special Education, Speech and Occupational Therapy. Some delegates of the conference expressed their wish for the good mayor to head their own local government programs for children with autism and their families.

Mayor Loyola encouraged participant-teachers to accept the challenge and commit themselves to the PDAO organization for the benefit of the PWD’s in their respective communities. The mayor believes educating the educators is also essential in the lives of persons with autism and would regularly send her staff to ASP seminars and workshops for training.

Autism Society Philippines’ Executive Director, Ranil Sorongon, said children with autism need assistance in terms of diagnosis, therapy and support services, as well as education and intervention programs that will increase their chances to develop into self-sufficient and productive individuals.  Yearly, ASP conducts free seminars and trainings for special educators from different public schools, in coordination with the local government units and organizations dealing with the therapy services for children with autism.

                                                                      **********

Happy Teachers Month! The Autism Society Philippines is inviting teachers and therapists to write 500-word essays on “Why I teach children with autism”.  Please send entries via email to autismphils@gmail.com before 11pm of 02 October 2012 with the subject “ESSAY / Why I teach children with autism / <Your title>”.  One winner will be announced on October 5, World Teachers’ Day, and will get free entry to all ASP professional seminars for one year.  The winning piece will also be featured in this column on 08 October 2012.



This article appeared in print and on-line versions of the Manila Bulletin on 24 September 2012.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Sweet Tomatoes Printable Coupons