The Inbox

Pros and cons of mainstreaming children with disabilities

Text and video by Karmela Gabrielle Tordecilla, VERA Files

Voshon, an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with autism, is enrolled in the special education (SPED) program of a private regular school in Las Pinas City. He started schooling in 2009, the same year he underwent speech and physical therapy sessions in the hospital where his mother, Maggie Hernandez, works as a cardiovascular nurse.

The Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities encourages the establishment of SPED schools for children with learning disabilities. However, there are regular schools that offer SPED classes like Voshon's school.

Voshon lacks fine motor skills. His fingers are markedly short for a child his size. His short fingers make it difficult for him to hold a pencil, and thus, to write. A short attention span affects not only his writing, but his reading ability as well.

Even if Maggie prefers to homeschool her child, she can't. Homeschooling would require her to devote much of her time teaching Voshon. She has also considered transferring him to another school.

The first thing she considered in choosing a school for Voshon was the tuition. As far as she knows, the school Voshon currently attends offers the cheapest rate among all the SPED schools in the city. It is also located near their home. However, she thinks there is a "repetitiveness" in the way lectures are conducted in the school.

"One of the things my son doesn't like is doing things over and over again. He dislikes routine," she said. "I find it ironic that the classes in his school have become routinary."

Maggie thinks mainstreaming—integrating children with special needs into a regular class—has disadvantages. She believes children with the same condition as her son are not given proper attention in a mainstream classroom. She noticed that there has been a "regression" in the quality of textbooks. The books seem to be getting easier as Voshon moves to the next grade level.

In scouting for a school for her son, Maggie also looks at whether a school prioritizes the teaching of life skills. Among the things he learned from being part of a mainstream classroom are controlling his temper, making eye contact and socializing with children his age.

"The top goal of every SPED teacher is to teach children how to do things on their own," said Apple Ilustre, a grade school teacher who graduated from a SPED course at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

Simple organizational skills such as tying one's shoes and arranging one's belongings are taught to children with autism.

In the long run, teaching life skills to autistic children would lead them to become functional adults.

The author is a senior journalism student at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She submitted this story for the journalism seminar class "Reporting on Persons with Disabilities" under VERA Files trustee Yvonne T. Chua.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for "true.")


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesia rebuffs last-ditch bids to delay drug-convict executions
    Indonesia rebuffs last-ditch bids to delay drug-convict executions

    By Kanupriya Kapoor and Jane Wardell CILACAP, Indonesia/SYDNEY (Reuters) - Indonesia said the execution of nine drug traffickers would go ahead this week, rebuffing last-minute appeals from Australia and the Philippines to spare their nationals and ignoring a decision by the Constitutional Court to hear a final challenge. Australia began the day with a plea for a stay in the execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, saying reports that their trial had been tainted by corruption needed to …

  • Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia
    Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia

    Australia urged Indonesia Monday to delay the execution of two men for drug offences until a corruption probe into their case is complete, after a report that judges sought tens of thousands of dollars in bribes. "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could face the firing squad within days, along with others from Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and an Indonesian prisoner. The Indonesian attorney-general's office said the executions would take place this week but did …

  • ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP
    ISIS has not penetrated Phl – AFP

    Security officials yesterday maintained that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has not penetrated the Philippines following an expert’s warning that the group poses a threat to the country. Abu Sayyaf, BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), private armed groups to our knowledge are the people making problems down south,” Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. said. The BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the ISIS but it remains uncertain whether they are …

  • Cerbo named national police intel chief
    Cerbo named national police intel chief

    Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina yesterday ordered the appointment of PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. as chief of the Directorate for Intelligence. …

  • Pump prices up anew
    Pump prices up anew

    Oil companies announced yesterday another round of price hikes with independent oil firms among the first to issue their respective announcements. PTT Philippines, the local subsidiary of Thailand’s biggest oil firm, and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, another independent oil company, were among the first to issue their respective advisories. Seaoil Philippines also issued its announcement. “PTT Philippines will increase pump prices of gasoline by P0.70 per liter and of diesel by P0.30 per …

  • PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing
    PNP to ease rules on gun permit processing

    The Philippine National Police will simplify requirements for getting a firearm’s permit under the new gun control law, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said yesterday. Espina said they are working to simplify the process to secure a license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF) amid complaints of excessive requirements from gun holders. Espina directed the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to make it easier for legitimate gun owners to comply with the …

  • Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals
    Mercy for Mary Jane: Pacman joins appeals

    World boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took time out yesterday from final preparations for his $400-million megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to plead for the life of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia. Pacquiao, a national hero in the Philippines, added his voice to a chorus of global opposition led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the executions of a group of foreign drug convicts, including compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. The eight-division world champion, who will face …

  • Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700
    Phl condoles as Nepal death toll hits 3,700

    Foreign rescue teams equipped with heavy cutting gear and relief supplies were landing round the clock at Nepal’s only international airport on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which has been devastated by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake. “We need more helicopters for our rescue operations in rural areas,” said Nepal Home Affairs spokesman Laxmi Prasad Dhakal. In a statement issued yesterday, Aquino said a team from the Philippine embassy in New Delhi, India would travel to Nepal to meet the needs …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options