MANILA, Philippines - In line with its efforts to include every learner in school whether they are able or differently-abled, the Department of Education (DepEd) is encouraging officials in public elementary and secondary schools to conduct activities to support the weeklong celebration of National Intellectual Disability Week.
With the theme "Developing Survival Skills Among Children with Intellectual Disabilities, the celebration- which runs from February 13 to 19 - is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1485 entitled "National Mental Retardation Week" and part of the observance of the Philippine Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2003-2012) as outlined in Presidential Proclamation No. 240.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro, through DepEd Memorandum No. 14 series of 2012, released to all bureau and regional directors, schools division / city superintendents and heads of public elementary and secondary schools, encouraged all school officials especially those with Special Education (SPED) programs to conduct activities to support the celebration.
"We encourage institutionalizing day camp activities for children with intellectual disability for the development of skills towards survival and coping mechanisms of the present times," Luistro said in his memo.
Other suggested activities include conducting advocacy campaign in radio, television, and print media featuring children and youth with intellectual disability as child advocates; conducting dialogues with parents, service providers, and stakeholders relevant to the theme of the celebration; and conducting regional/division-wide trainings/conferences for parents, school administrators, and other government and non-government organizations (NGOs), and service providers to improve and enhance the quality of existing collaboration.
"We also encourage holding cultural shows, sports fest, photo and work exhibits, film showing featuring the latest educational interventions and other activities which will showcase the potential capabilities and youth with intellectual disabilities," Luistro said.
However, he reminded school officials that "all activities to be undertaken should not disrupt regular classes nor compromise their supervision." He added that "all activities that are community-based should be conducted during Saturdays and Sundays of the week."
Luistro said the DepEd National Capital Region (NCR) in coordination with the Special Education (SPED) Unit, Elementary Education Division (EED), SPED-BEE, the Philippine Association for the Retarded (PAR), Jaycees Capitol, Inc. (JCI)-Quezon City, Manila Water (MW) and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) will also sponsor the Annual Camp Pag-Ibig at Balara Filter Plant, Quezon City on February 18-19.
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