Provincial centers for special children

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Friday, July 22, 2011


A CENTER for autistic and special children will soon be established in every province of the country.

Rep. Gina De Venecia (fourth district, Pangasinan) said House Bill 4447 mandates the creation of centers, which will give, among others, free special therapy sessions or interventions to children with autism and hearing and speech impairment.

Poor families who cannot afford the time and specialized treatment for their children with autism and/or hearing and speech impairment can avail of free special therapy sessions or interventions.

De Venecia said these centers shall also provide free evaluation, physical and occupational therapy and socialization activities.

In order to uplift the lives of these children, there will be educational assistance, parents' training and community training.

The bill, to be known as the "Empowerment of Children with Special Needs Act," shall provide comprehensive rehabilitation, social and educational services to the youth with special needs.

Under the bill, each Center shall be composed of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, social workers, special education teachers and provincial health workers, among others.

A volunteer rehabilitation doctor or a rehabilitation doctor from the provincial hospital shall evaluate the beneficiaries and provide initial rehabilitation plans to guide team.

Eventually, centers for children with autism and hearing and speech impairment shall be established in every congressional district.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, in coordination with the Department of Health, National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA), organizations specializing on children with special needs and other groups advocating the rights of persons with disabilities, shall promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations of this Act, assist and provide necessary support services for their effective implementation.

With much help, these children with special needs can live freely and independently and achieve a more meaningful, productive and satisfying life.

In the USA, special needs is a term used in clinical diagnostic and functional development to describe individuals who require assistance for disabilities that may be medical, mental, or psychological. For instance, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases 9th edition both give guidelines for clinical diagnosis.

People with Autism, Down syndrome, dyslexia, blindness, or cystic fibrosis, for example, may be considered to have special needs.

In the UK, "special needs" often refers to special needs within an educational context. This is also referred to as special educational needs (SEN). In Germany a similar term exists. Special needs children are called "besondere Kinder" ("special children").

More narrowly, it is a legal term applying in foster care in the United States, derived from the language in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. It is a diagnosis used to classify children as needing "more" services than those children without special needs who are in the foster care system. It is a diagnosis based on behavior, childhood and family history, and is usually made by a health care professional.

In the United States, more than 150,000 children with special needs are waiting for permanent homes. Traditionally, children with special needs have been considered harder to place for adoption than other children, but experience has shown that many children with special needs can be placed successfully with families who want them.

The term Special Needs is a short form of Special Education Needs and is a way to refer to students with disabilities. The term Special Needs in the education setting comes into play whenever a child's education program is officially altered from what would normally be provided to students through an Individual Education Plan which is sometimes referred to as an Individual Program plan.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 23, 2011.

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