What If? What if I don’t have the arms and legs? Does it mean I can’t play? What if I don't have the sight and the voice? Does it mean I can’t communicate? What if words come slow in my mind? Does it mean I can’t learn? What if I can’t look at you in the eye? Does it mean I don’t care? What if I can’t hug you like other children? Does it mean I’m void of all emotions? How can I tell you what I feel? If you don’t reach out and accept what I am? Can you give me a chance? Can you open your heart? Can you listen to my plea and love me like any other child? INTRODUCTION SPECIAL EDUCATION WITHIN THE 3-PRONGED MODEL Dr. Edilberto I. Dizon Good intervention focuses on the special child as he relates with his family, friends, neighbors, classmates and teachers. As he grows older, there will be a bigger space to explore and know about: his community and then other communities far beyond his. As he strives to become, there will be hardships along the way. We, humans—with all our frailties and limitations—cannot help him all by ourselves. We seek God’s mercy and love in our journey with the special child. The path is long and dreary but as we walk on in God’s Grace, we will not, as a wiseman had said, “count the number of times we fall but the number of times we stand up each time we fall.” The 3-Pronged Model PRO-GOD CHILD PRO-LIFE PRO-HUMANITY Special Education as PRO-LIFE values the presence of a special child and the nurturance of his family and significant others. Special Education as PRO-HUMANITY values a community of concerned individuals who genuinely facilitate the special child’s growth. Special Education as PRO-GOD values the presence of a Divine Being and the power of faith and belief in His Providence and Intervention. SPED and Individualization The earmark of SPED is individualization which can be provided in varied placement programs including regular classes. Thus, SPED can be presented in any school or non-school program so long as individualization is provided. Individualization refers to the provision of customized curriculum, instruction, materials, facilities and equipment, family linkages, and/or support services the special child needs in any type of placement program decided upon by SPED specialists in collaboration with others including the family. Such individualization in any type of placement program suitable to/best for the child is a provision of SPED. Thus, a special child who is provided an individualized curricular and instructional program in a regular class is provided SPED! TO BE PRO-GOD, PRO-LIFE AND PRO-HUMANITY IN SPED MEANS: Preparing teachers, administrators and other school staff to know and understand the special child, accept and respect him for whatever he is, caring for him unconditionally, helping him achieve his potential, and keeping such commitment consistently. Placing a special child in an appropriate placement program that best responds to his needs, abilities and capabilities, adopts instructional schemes to strengthen intervention, and prepares him to be an active member of the community. Designing and implementing a curricular program that incorporates the provision of physical necessities and psychomotor development, cognitive and language abilities, and emotional, social and civic skills including relating with God positively through prayers and constructive deeds. Planning and implementing instructional methodologies that draw the best in the special child, sustain his curiosity and love for learning, harness initiative and creativity, and ensure mastery learning. Referring to and collaborating with supportservice givers who are equally interested in the special child and imbued with commitment to his welfare. Such partnership is a confirmation that teaching the special child cannot be a teacher’s function alone. It requires the help of other professionals – considering the child’s presenting needs and concerns. Working and collaborating with the family and the different community sectors through programs that inspire and ensure active and committed participation and provide services that redound to the quality of life of persons with special needs. Providing clean, safe and conducive avenues for learning: schools, rehabilitation centers, community day-care centers, therapeutic centers, etc. alongside needed materials, facilities and equipment where special children can learn and grow happily. Keeping trust in God that His Goodness never fails special children as we guide them towards the positive direction and towards HIS WAY!