/ 3 September 2020

QUEZON City 4th District Rep. Jesus “Bong” Suntay filed a bill providing for the identification, assessment and education of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

House Bill 7485 or the proposed Autism Spectrum Disorder Management Act, seeks to address the gap in the educational system for the children with ASD, Suntay said.

“Currently, in the Philippines, there is no law that forwards early identification, assessment and education of children with ASD. This is very crucial as it plays a vital role in addressing the disorder. Appropriate educational instruments and curriculum must be provided for the condition,” Suntay said in his explanatory note.

According to the World Health Organization, one in every 160 children have ASD, a condition that can be characterized by some degree of impaired social behavior, communication and language, and a narrow range of interest and activities that are both unique to the individual and carried out repetitively.

Suntay is optimistic that with his bill, public school teachers will be properly trained and educated in handling ASD-specialized education, in pursuance of helping both the teachers and students, and making advancements in the educational system.

The bill mandates the Secretary of Education to appoint an autism ombudsman to develop best practice guidelines for the educational assessment and interventions for differently able children.

Regional professional development centers must have an autism specialist available while early childhood education centers shall be established.

The Secretary of Education shall also appoint regional and city advisory committees as deem necessary to review special education services.