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.")

Loading...

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.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • 13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital
    13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital

    Thirteen of the 15 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen who survived the bloody firefight with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano last month are ready to go home after a month of medical treatment, a police official said yesterday. Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the two remaining survivors will have to stay in hospital for further treatment, one of whom has shrapnel embedded near his spine. One of the two SAF commando survivors is still …

  • US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea
    US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea

    The United States has deployed its newest and most advanced surveillance aircraft for patrols over the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea. The P-8A Poseidon aircraft completed more than 180 flight hours from Feb. 1 to 21 from Clark Air Base, according to the US Navy’s 7th Fleet. …

  • Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2
    Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2

    How well does this P3,999 offering from an underdog in the local mobile industry stack up against the competition? Let's find out. …

  • No coercion, force in sea row – France
    No coercion, force in sea row – France

    France renewed its call for a peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea dispute during a meeting between its leader President Francois Hollande and President Aquino at Malacañang. “We reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia and promoting maritime security, freedom of navigation and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” Aquino said in a statement …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options