The September 26 installment of Magsulat Magmulat webinar series spearheaded by Sulo, the official gazette of the College of Education students in UP Diliman, highlighted the importance and role of literature to individuals with diverse learning needs especially or as a coping mechanism during these trying times. This was the third among four seminars that were free of charge and is open to all student journalists and school paper advisers across the country.
Anchored on the theme, “Panitikang Pambata Bilang Kaagapay ng mga Batang May Espesyal na Pangangailangan,” the program was facilitated by Teacher Jonellie Reynes-Santos, a special education and literacy specialist, as she impart her personal experiences both as a writer and an instructor catering persons with diverse learning needs.
Teacher Joji, as she is called, is a published author of textbooks and children stories, especially her authorship of a young adult (YA) fiction book entitled, “Inside Daniel’s Head” which tackles misconceptions on the likes of Daniel who seeks special needs.
“For others, they may have that capability to express themselves [and] have that voice but they may not necessarily be heard or understood. The role of children’s literature in the pandemic at ako bilang manunulat kung paano ko ginagamit ang literature ay para maging kaagapay at para makatulong sa mga indibdiwal na may espesyal na pangangailangan pati na rin sa kanilang pamilya.” Santos said.
Furthermore, the program mentioned as well how the pandemic worsened the struggle on providing interventions to individuals with diverse learning needs.
“It’s a vicious cycle. Many of these families have relied on the interventionist to take care of their children. But now even if the interventionists are there online, [it is still] difficult especially with parents who are not necessarily trained to deal with some needs that require pedagogical knowledge like teachers.”
Santos emphasized how the absence of interventionists leave a difficulty to the persons with special needs themselves in being able to understand why they have to not go outside and stay at home, wear masks, and the facts of the pandemic.
“Hindi tayo nabigyan ng abiso para sa mga pagbabagong ito. Kaya mahirap siya, hindi siya madali, kahit kanino. Imagine kung tayo nga na nandito may struggle tayo sa mga pagbabagong nangyayari. Can you imagine the effect on individuals who don’t understand the situation? Who despite repeated explanation may not even comprehend the magnitude of the problem?”
Santos, in response, asserted that literature then plays an essential role on this matter. One of the highlights of the program was the key points that Santos laid out on how literature can help learners thrive through uncertain times.
Literature serves as a tool in understanding disabilities, in raising awareness, in addressing challenges as it becomes; a window for others to discern special needs, a mirror where it becomes a venue for readers to see themselves, and a sliding door to be friends with and to take part in the lives of the individuals with disabilities.
“Literature becomes a way to connect [and to] stay connected. We can also use [literature] to start conversations with other children. It becomes something to talk about at least to start with. That’s how we use literature in addressing the needs of children with different diverse learning needs, whether it’s cognitive, social or mental.”
The program ended with Santos reminding the viewers who are aspiring to be writers and to the special education faculties who want to present stories to their students to continue exploring literature and life per se.
“Magbasa, magmasid, magsulat, magbahagi, maging bukas sa komento at makinig.”
The Magsulat Magmulat webinar series is free of charge and is open to all student journalists and school paper advisers across the country. Their next installment is scheduled on October 3, 2020 where they will venture on the discussion about alternative methods highlighting the story of everyday life. For more details, visit their official facebook page, @upeduksulo. [P]
Publication material from UP Eduk Sulo