Monday, September 20, 2010

Learn More About Seminar Series: Special Education

In less than 3 hours from now, I will be speaking in front of some 30 or more individuals interested to know more about special education. I have checked the preparation made by my wife and her staff at Claire Dandan Events and they did a great job in creating an a cozy venue out of the The Children's Library.

I did a trial presentation with some volunteers from the library and everything went smooth and perfect. I hope to see all of you there and share with me an afternoon of special education overview of the overlooked issues.

Here is a copy of my introduction for this afternoon:

Learn More About: Special Education

Francis A. Buenaventura
B.S. Occupational Therapy, M.A. Special Education (candidate)


Special education has always been a part of my life. Having a brother with special needs gave me the chance to see the world of special education up close and personal. It was hard, it was difficult and it was embarrassing. It wasn’t easy but with God’s blessings and continuous guidance, we made it. The role my parents took and the responsibilities they had as a parent of a child with special needs was critical but they were up for the challenge, they were ready.

The Special Education we all know of now is very different from what was written in the books two or three decades ago or even more. At the turn of the 19th century, special education meant children will have to go to a special school where they are segregated from the “normal dudes”. The social stigma of having a family member with special needs was way too heavy a burden that most of these kids are tucked away, hidden from the view of the outside world.

In the 80’s the world of education changed its course of direction. With the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of the US Government, children with special needs in the United States were given the chance to go through the “normalization” process.

With this, the educational leaders of our country learned a lot from the system. Slowly, we changed our organizational structures, we shifted our views from an “embarrassing” to the “normal” state and we embraced and accepted Students and Children of All Abilities. Thus, opening the what-was once- hidden world of special education to everyone.

When the needs were laid out and brought into the open, we soon found every turn and breaks to be a major difficulty. There weren’t any law or global proclamations to guide governments to help these children. From the leaders to the practitioners of special education, we were lost.
That was thirty years ago.

Today, children with special needs are accepted into society.  Advocacy groups can be found in almost all major institutions. The internet did not forget and helped in the information dissemination of the special needs. Non-government agencies are set up to safeguard the rights of each person with special needs. UN Proclamations, Philippine Constitution and Republic Acts are there to promote equality among everyone.

But do we really know these? Can we quote the rationale of the SpEd programs in our schools if one non-special needs parent requests for the pull-out of the special child in the regular classroom?

Do we know how much children with special needs are enrolled in the Philippines? What are the 3 guiding principles of an Inclusive Education? Where did we get the terms Gifted and Talented and what does that mean?

As a teacher, what’s the use of all these?
As a member of the town council, what can we do to promote this?
As a parent, what are the rights of your child with special needs?
As an administrator of your school, what can you do to protect both your school and your students in relation to special education issues?
As a mall operator, or a business organization, are you aware of the laws pertaining to the sector of our society?

Today, I will to give you an overview of the overlooked areas and issues in special education. An overview with a bite and hopefully a positive overload!

Let us exchange ideas and learn from each other.  Just sit back, relax, enjoy the  afternoon and celebrate life!
See you there!

1 comment:

  1. nice intro, too bad I didn't witness the entire talk.


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