3 B’s (Being, Believing and Belonging)

By Zyra Palaypay- Paguio

SPET I - Balanga Elementary School, Date Posted: Dec. 5, 2018

Teaching learners with special educational needs is indeed challenging. It is even more difficult when families and communities where they belong have lack of knowledge about the child’s condition with disability. There is always societal misconception and stigmatization imposed on the child. Teachers need to be proactive toward their practices to achieve equality and holistic development.

Wellness of Being

Teachers should not only give emphasis on the educational needs of learners with special educational needs (LSENs) but their well-being as a person must be given importance also. Appreciate their growth and development no matter how slow/little it is. Parents need to love and accept them without prerequisites. Enjoy and celebrate every little success of their child. Look at them with hope and grace and not as burden in the family. Discover their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Harness their abilities and talents. Teach them how to be independent in dressing up themselves and taking care of their own bodies.

Practice safety-consciousness for self and others because LSENs do not know “safety first” rule. They have also difficulty understanding some actions that may hurt themselves or others. Let them maximize their participation in activities with the family such as giving the child simple responsibility at home so that he feels that he is not different from others. Allow them to feel that they belong to the family leading to self-confidence.

Believing

LSENs should be given a chance to learn functional skills, allow them to enjoy childhood and achieve growth in all areas. Just like normal kid, let them learn by playing and exploring things around them. Provide opportunity to experience life to the fullest. Allow them socialize with other children without disabilities. Have them participate in different school activities in school. Believe in what they can do. Teachers and parents need to be optimistic and patiently wait for the child to develop holistically.

Belonging

A child with disability can only enjoy his life to the fullest if he feels that he is welcome in our world. Families and communities have to widen their knowledge about human differences.

The child with disability should feel that he is part of the family. The family should be the one to show full support and acceptance. Parents and families who are in denial stage would only delay growth and development of the child with disability. It also builds poor self-confidence of the child.

LSENs should have equal access in the community too. The community and the environment should be ready to accommodate them so they feel that they belong. We should consider “universal design” in all aspect.

The need to belong of LSENs is challenging because there is a great necessity to expand disability awareness to their families and collaborate more with different sectors and partners in our society including local and national leaders. The need to participate in advocacy programs, disabled people’s organization can bring change.

Let us put an end to stigmatization and labelling LSENs. Let us help one another to empower families and the communities to include LSENs in our society, whether you are a parent, a student, a teacher, a principal or a neighbour. Let them feel that they belong and are included; that they would feel their worth and value.

Let’s bring change and make a difference NOW.