/ 9 August 2020

SENATOR Win Gatchalian urged the Department of Education to ensure that learners with disabilities continue to receive access to therapies as well as other health care and rehabilitation services.

While DepEd preparations are underway to provide learning modules to learners with disabilities, Gatchalian emphasized that a comprehensive mapping and action plan are needed so that allied medical professionals, including speech, physical, and occupational therapists can keep providing services to these learners.

“Bringing these therapists and health care professionals to the homes of these learners is one way to deliver the much-needed therapies and support services,” Gatchalian said.

In mapping out access to therapies and other healthcare and rehabilitation services, Gatchalian said DepEd should work closely with local government units who should also be tapped to provide transportation.

The lawmaker also pointed out that the input of allied medical professionals is essential in the formulation of an individualized education plan, which identifies learners’ academic goals in a year and how they can be achieved.

DepEd records show that in 2018, there were 231,631 learners with disabilities enrolled in self-contained classes or those who were not part of regular classrooms.

Enrollment records for the upcoming school year show that as of July 15, there were only 51,375 learners with disabilities who have registered.

According to Save the Children’s “Rapid Survey on the Situation of Children with Disabilities in the Context of Covid19”, 48 percent of its 4,066 participants said they cannot access education services because of the Covid19 pandemic.

The same report said that loss of income and employment among the caregivers and parents of these children hampered access to clinics, health care, and rehabilitation services.

“Sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon para sa mga kabataang may kapansanan ngayong panahon ng pandemya, mahalagang patuloy natin silang mabigyan ng mga serbisyong pangkalusugan upang matugunan ang mga hamong kanilang kinakaharap at patuloy silang makalahok sa kanilang mga klase,” said Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.