Central Philippine University

By Karren Jay G. Asgar

First speaker, Ms. Yuliana Gautama discussed topics about disabilities that occur during childhood and impact one’s development.

Last March 22, 2024, the CPU’s College of Education and Petra Christian University’s College of Teacher Education concluded an international seminar about advancing the awareness for students with special needs (Kindergarten to Elementary School) which was held at the Central Philippine University. Around 250 participants attended the said seminar both in-person and via Zoom Teleconference.

The program started with the solemn prayer led by Dr. Magdalena Pranata Santoso, Dean of Faculty Teacher of Education of Petra Christian University. Dr. Mene P. Lorca-Junsay, Dean of CPU-College of Education, Prof. Dr. Djwantoro Hardjito, Rector of Petra Christian University, and Rev. Dr. Ernest Howard B. Dagohoy, CPU President, gave their welcome messages to the esteemed guests and participants of the said seminar.

The seminar aims to increase awareness of students with special needs to support fair access and opportunities for them in both society and school. It focuses on the value of accessibility and inclusion in the classroom and society at large. Additionally, it also emphasizes on informing current and aspiring educators about the significance of professional development and preparation for such students.

The first speaker was Ms. Yuliana Gautama, a lecturer at Petra Christian University. She shared her ideas for acknowledging the students with special needs, as well as understanding their similarities and differences from a wider perspective. “Just because a child doesn’t talk, doesn’t mean they don’t want a companion. Just because a child cannot walk and cannot run, doesn’t mean they don’t want to be included in games,” she remarked.

Dr. Joel Maravilla Durban, professor at Central Philippines University, graced the said event by sharing his experiences as the second speaker. He discussed the common disabilities in the classroom, curriculum adaptations, accommodations/modifications, and the importance of building relationships for students with special needs. “As teachers, we have to make sure that we learn where are our students came from,” Dr. Durban emphasized.

Ob Anggen School’s Director, Mr. Benjamin Scott Wesley delivered a profound message and shared his personal insights during the seminar. He presented documentaries as to how they acknowledge and help people with special needs in their community. He added that, “When we view these special needs as special opportunities to special people, God will use them in special ways. We are all created in the image and likeness of God.”

The program has concluded with a series of question-and-answer portions spearheaded by the three speakers. The CPU’s College of Education and Petra Christian University’s College of Teacher Education expressed their appreciation to all participants and speakers for their active involvement in the said seminar.