Wanted: A School for Kids with Mild Mental Retardation

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Question: Would you know some schools that offer vocational courses for adults with mild mental retardation? Thank you very much for your help.Transition to work and adulthood is an ongoing issue of great importance for persons with disabilities (PWD). Although there is an increasing emphasis on early intervention programs and preschool inclusion of children with disabilities, as the child gets older, educational options become more and more limited.The end-goal of transition programs is to promote quality of life for the PWD to promote in them a feeling of dignity, self-worth and respect, the outcomes being a sense of empowerment, independence, personal satisfaction, and community participation in the different aspects of being a valued member of our society.Transition programs would encompass a coordinated set of outcome-oriented activities that include independent living, community adjustment, vocational training and supported employment opportunities.Sadly, in our country, there are very few schools that offer vocational courses for adults with mild mental retardation (MR).A long way to goAlthough the law recognizes the importance of providing PWDs with training in vocational efficiency, a sustainable program has not been implemented successfully in spite of efforts made, according to Archie David, an occupational therapy expert on transition programs, and executive director of Independent Living Learning Center (ILLC).David said there are no TESDA-accredited vocational programs specifically designed for adults with mild MR and other intellectual disabilities.Nonetheless, the TESDA mainstream course offerings are open to all and do not discriminate against PWDs. TESDA, however, admits they lack training on how to differentiate instruction for individuals with MR. This lack of competency then becomes a limiting factor in terms of accepting PWDs into their programs.During the 1st National Disability Summit in 2009, TESDA reported that they have limited capacity to serve the needs of PWDs, and have little knowledge of the potentials of PWDs to be trained to acquire skills for certain occupations. …