By ANNA LIZA T. VILLAS
January 16, 2010, 5:50pm
More children with special needs are expected to be served in Makati City as the city government has turned over its state-of-the-art Special Education (SPED) Center building to DepEd-Makati which would provide them greater access to formal education.
Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay said the SPED Center is a five-story building equipped with facilities to cater to the special learning needs of special children, including a jacuzzi and therapy room located at the ground floor and 10 classrooms, which include a computer room, multi-purpose hall, clinic, and canteen.
“Special children have as much right as everyone else to education. They have the right to realize their full potential whatever their physical and mental capabilities are. The Makati SPED Center is a testament to our continuing commitment to providing them equal opportunities for growth,” Binay said.
Binay said each classroom is air-conditioned and all the walls are rubberized for the children’s protection. There is also an isolation room for students who have tantrums or other behaviors that need to be modified.
Salvacion Calabucal, officer-in-charge of SPED Center, said currently the Center has 112 enrollees who belong to seven disability groups, which include children with autism, mental retardation (MR), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), the hearing impaired, and visually impaired. Interestingly, the Center also caters to fast learners, defined as children with above average or high intellectual ability who belong to the top of their class.
Calabucal said each SPED program has three session shifts from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., with one dedicated SPED teacher in every disability group.
The therapy sessions and classes for children with behavioral problems are being handled by an experienced therapist who applies behavior analysis.
Therapy sessions aim to decrease and, if possible, eliminate undesirable behavior for a special child to become more socially acceptable.
The new Makati SPED Center is located at Santuico St., Barangay Pio del Pilar, Makati City. At present, it caters to all SPED pupils of Busilak na Paglingap SPED Center housed at Pio del Pilar Elementary School-Main.
Since 1995, Makati has kept true to its commitment to look out for the welfare of children with special needs. The city government has been providing SPED pupils with educational materials, speech rooms, Braille educational materials for the blind, hearing aids and wheelchairs, among others.
The city government has also tapped the services of concerned departments like Makati Social Welfare Department and Ospital ng Makati to for children’s activities such as the Lakbay-Saya project, feeding program, and regular diagnosis and medical treatment.
On the other hand, the city’s Engineering Department has studied every detail of the Accessibility Law to provide the special children comfort and convenience every time they visit the city hall.