In the era of world’s creation or evolution, a perfect man and woman were described. These set standards on what normal or not should be, distinguishable to somebody who has complete body parts and has no physical flaws upon birth.   However, as years have passed and with human environment and lifestyle changes , or mutations only science could explain have affected genes or human reproduction, children with special needs are born. 

Year 2009, when I first became an assistant language teacher in Japan. My first school assignment was in Yachimata City, Chiba. Prior to that, my younger sister who is brilliant in the Japanese language, has been in the education field for quite long. While I didn’t have any plan to leave the Philippines, I asked her why there is an observable number of people with disabilities in Japan, and she mentioned that probably, it has something to do with the radiation exposure during atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Perhaps this was the easiest explanation she could give me. After which, Japan has implemented law on education, health, employment and more to give equal opportunities for individuals like them.
When I became a teacher, it was then that I realized, she was right about the admirable government programs for them because I have personally witnessed Japanese with disabilities given importance in schools, or how they function at work because you can interact with them even in convenience stores giving services as staff.

I have been handling both regular and special classes from kindergarten to junior high school in japanese government schools and truly, children with special needs are provided the right ratio of teachers with 3-4 faculty and staff in one class, their own classrooms and are included in regular subject classes according to their age and academic capabilities.  I could barely remember specifics of my teaching service in Japan for almost five years, but theirs are the liveliest, and doing activities with them brought me that mixed emotions , dominantly cloud 9 feeling , slightly out of worry about their future, or out of my perception that they needed me more than any class, or that out of amazement that Japan government has given them the education program they definitely deserve in all primary and secondary schools. 

As based on the 2022 statement of Department of Education, there is no fund for special education under the proposed national budget, which still recurred in 2023 as the proposed budget was again scrapped in the National Expenditure Program, despite the fact that 84% of municipalities has no SPED facilities, worst that there are only 648 SPED centers out of 44,931 public schools in the Philippines. 

Although inclusive education law has been passed during the Duterte administration, the move remains insignificant when all Dep Ed could do is to stretch their budget or spare a little amount for SPED which is apparently insufficient. 

Not only that my heart bleeds for children with special needs because of the fate prior to their birth but because of the little to no opportunity  or importance allotted for them by the government, for despite their mental or physical challenges, I have proven through my constant interaction with them, that they too, especially the children born with neurological disabilities, are smart in different aspects, and that they needed to discover their strengths and be trained, that way they could at least be prepared to be functional and could live independently in the future.

When I decided to stay in the Philippines for good and opened my academic tutorial center in 2019, I vowed to prioritize SPED learners and give them equal chance to learn, instructing our teachers to never refuse a child no matter the challenge. Thus, we have been handling a number, and even receiving SPED inquiries almost everyday up to present. Given enough space, I could go on endlessly how helpful and effective the teachings are in their improvement. We have a 7 years old learner with down syndrome whose first day with us was assessed with communication ability of one to two words and needed minutes to digest a repeated simple question or instruction. After more than two months, he is now able to speak and react normally and that he could express himself more expressively without resorting to crying or force which normally occurs out of frustration when they couldn’t relay what they mean or hope to happen. Aside from his ability to socialize well in a classroom setting, is also able to participate and compete in sports, music and other main activities of the school which proves that given the right attention, children like him will surely go places.

However, the sun only shines for those whose parents could afford or would find means sending them to private facilities like ours, which made me remained bothered for the majority of the unattended, as to until when will our government remain futile considering that as based on Philhealth data, 1:7 or 5.1 million Filipino children are living with disabilities.

Truly, will there be any flicker of hope for neurogically challenged children in our country?