Special education

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Special education (SpEd), as the term implies, is a specialized kind of education system that caters to the academic and learning needs of special children. Psychology also plays an important role in the development of the special educational system.

Special educators teach those students who have physical, cognitive, language, learning, sensory, and/or emotional abilities that deviate from those of the general population. They provide instruction specifically tailored to meet each child 's individual needs.


Characteristics of special education

Combined with the principles of psychology (educational psychology, study of behavior, and principles of learning), SpEd is effective in providing adequate academic and psychological support to students with special needs as well as their parents.

SpEd curricula are based on process training―they involve ways to improve the children's academic performance by teaching them cognitive or motor processes, such as visual memory, auditory memory, perceptual skills, and/or auditory-vocal processing. Basically, the focus is on:

  • the child’s creative, critical, and analytical thinking
  • the development of perceptual and motor skills
  • orientation and mobility skills
  • the development of the different modes of communication, and
  • the improvement of occupational and vocational skills.

Special education in the Philippines

The Special Education Division under DepEd's Bureau of Elementary Education strives to provide basic education to Filipino children with special needs that will help them:

  • fully realize their own potentials for development and productivity
  • become capable of self-expression and knowledgeable of their rights
  • become God-loving and proud of being Filipinos.

The division believes that “every child with special needs has a right to an educational program that is suitable to his needs.” It also shares the basic responsibilities of the educational system, similar to the basic regular educational system, to fulfill the right of the child to develop his/her potentials.

The Department of Education also has issued a memorandum that mandates the organization of a SpEd unit in each region, which can ultimately help make education accessible to the less fortunate and the residents of far-flung areas, especially those with “special” needs.

Criticisms and issues

Some critics claim that the use of diagnostic labels and methods of teaching is potentially stigmatizing to students, while others say that education of students with disabilities in special classes and schools, even pulling students out for instruction in resource classes, is akin to race-based segregation.

Special education has also been validly criticized for the way in which students with disabilities are identified. Many of the disability categories overlap to the extent that it is hard to differentiate one from the other. Additionally, some of the categories―learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, for example―are defined by the exclusion of other disabilities.

See also




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