New school for special children to open in Davao

School administrator Angel Lawrence Dean said students will go through an individualized assessment, a necessary step for special education (Sped) before placement in an education program. 

It will be the 11th school for children with special needs in the region. Southeastern Mindanao has eight public schools and two private institutions offering special education  for children. 

Dean said only 6,330 children with special needs are enrolled in these institutions. He estimates around 60 percent of the population of children with special needs are out of school. 

Dean, who took his Master’s in Special Education from the University of the Philippines said there are 50 special children in every 100,000 births in the Philippines.

Dean said discrimination against children with special needs, through labeling, should also be avoided. He said the politically correct term for children with mental retardation is “mentally challenged” and an autistic child is “one with pervasive developmental disorder.” He said special children should be referred to as “exceptional children.” 

School owner Margaret Susan Escora, herself a parent of a 10-year old child with special needs, said parents should send to school children with special needs to harness their potentials.

She said there will always be a part of the child that will develop and parents have to work at developing it. “It is not a hopeless case,” she said.

“There is hope for children like these to be successful in life,” she said. Escora said children with special needs can become independent, productive, and confident given the right attention.

Escora also said even children with special needs who belong to poor families should be sent to school. She said they will also admit indigent students with their socialized tuition and corporate partnerships.

Dean said they are offering an in-house individualized assessment, which is an important part in educating children with special needs. He said educators need to know the capacity of their pupils before giving them any education program.

He said assessment is necessary to prevent erroneous placement of students.

He said the government welcomes the growth of new schools for children with special needs. But some parents still refuse to send their children to school because of discrimination and denial.