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Mark san from Philippines has reported his recent activity.

Behavioral Management of ULIKID Foundation

On March 27, 2014, Ms. Marie Louise Kathryn Cerbas (Kate), my colleague and friend in Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy (APCP), called and asked me if I would be available on March 29. She had been invited to be a guest speaker at the “Behavioral Management” forum of ULIKID Parents Organization Inc. It was founded by the parents of Children with Disabilities (CWD) of “Barangay Calumpang” and supported by a Parish Church of the said Barangay (village). And the said foundation was catering children with all kinds of disabilities as a “Rehabilitation and a Learning Center” since middle 90s. Most of the members come from poor families but they are helping each other by sharing their resources and educating Children with Disabilities and their parents to become productive in their own way. The said foundation was supported by the ASMAE of France and Liliane Foundation of the Netherlands to expand their program not only to their village but in the whole city of Iloilo.

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When my friend told me that Mrs. Guia Durias, one of the officers of the said foundation, invited her as the guest speaker, she suggested it would be nice if I was also invited to make a good combination of psychology and special education – Kate was a psychology graduate in University of San Agustin, and I was also finishing my Masters in Special Education in West Visayas State University. She said that the participants would learn more from the speakers who were Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) themselves. The participants would be mostly parents, and they could relate in many aspects to how to manage and assist their children with disabilities in emotional and behavioural matters. When Mrs. Guia Durias heard the suggestion, she immediately asked about my schedule, and of course I said “Yes” because the ULIKID Foundation is one of the organizations that are close to my heart even though I had not been their personnel. Another reason why I wanted to be a guest speaker was to test my PowerPoint presentation for the upcoming “Program for Orientation of Barangay Health Workers on Profiling of Persons with Disabilities (PWD)” this coming April, by Community Based Adaptation and Resilience Against Disasters (CBARAD) that was supported by CITYNET Yokohama, and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). My said PowerPoint presentation was about “All Kinds of Disabilities” covering all types of disabilities and impairments such as:

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Communication/Speech and Language Disabilities
  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Emotional Behavioral Disorder
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Visual Impairment
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Physical/Orthopaedic Impairment
  • Multiple Disabilities
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My PowerPoint explained their definitions, characteristics and causes in very simple terms so that everyone could understand based on Special Education, Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias. I was eager to try it and speak to parents at the ULIKID before doing it to the Barangay Health Workers of different barangays here in Iloilo City. It was a great challenge for me because previously I had only done PowerPoint presentations and lectures about Physical/ Orthopaedic Impairments. Now, I had to talk about all disabilities and impairments. I must admit I was nervous and terrified. In addition, my PowerPoint presentation had not yet been finished – it was 80% finished. But I had to grab the opportunity to go to the ULIKID and try it out, to see how effectively I could deliver a presentation.

On March 29, 2014, the Behavioral Management Forum started with “Sharing and Leveling of Expectations” the participants and speakers talked about their experiences such as difficulties and struggles they had faced in caring of their children with disabilities and growing up as persons with disabilities. In this kind of activity it encouraged each and every one to be open with trust and confidence to each other. The following activity is a lecture entitled “What is Cerebral Palsy?” and it was discussed by Ms. Blesilda Mabilog, another colleague of mine in APCP. She cited the characteristics and types of Cerebral Palsy.;

  1. Hypertonia (Spastic)
  2. Hypotonia (Hypotonic)
  3. Athetosis (Athetoid)
  4. Ataxia (Ataxic)
  5. Rigidity and Tremor (Dystonic)

And the parts of the body affected such as:

  • Hemiplegia
  • Diplegia
  • Quadriplegia
  • Monoplegia
  • Triplegia
  • Double hemiplegia
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She also explained the possible causes of the said impairments, enabling the parents to understand the disability in a positive way. The lecture was followed by a short forum. After that I gave a lecture about “Emotional Behavioral Disorder and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” I discussed its definitions and characteristics and how to manage or assist those children and persons having that disorder. I also answered some questions during the forum that took place after my lecture, and it was followed by the lecture given by Ms. Kate Cerbas regarding “Management of Children with Behavioral Disorders” where she discussed thoroughly the followings:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Phobias
  • Post Traumatic Disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorders
  • Panic Disorder
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

She also explained the psychotherapy and management of children having these kinds of disorders and together we teamed up to answer all the questions in the forum as far as we could.

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As the event was finished I and my friends/colleagues together with some parents of the ULIKID concluded that we have still a long journey to travel and go in order to understand Children with Disabilities and their individual uniqueness.

As a Person with Disability and as a person with Cerebral Palsy, I strongly believe that the key to our success as PWDs relies on our parents especially on our mothers. Mothers have strong love for their child that cannot be destroyed. Of course, there are some parents who cannot accept their child due to physical and mental imperfections as everyone in the society perceives, but the feelings inside of a mother’s love is undeniable. Parents need to accept and educate Children with Disabilities, so that they can become independent and reliable in their own way. We, Persons with Disabilities, need to receive and accept our parents and be accepted in the family, friends, community and society. Parents cannot choose what kind of a child they would have, and as Persons with Disabilities we cannot choose who our parents would be. But we can choose what kind of a person we will be in the future.

Mark F. Espesor

Iloilo City, Philippines

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