In support of the International Day of People with Disabilities, the faculty members of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences – Department of Occupational Therapy participated in the Research Forum on Inclusive Education last Dec 12, 2019 at B Hotel in Quezon City, organized by the think tank of government policies, Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), and the leading international non-government organization, Save the Children. This is participated in by relevant local government units, civil society organizations and non-government organizations. The research forum revolved around three relevant themes for inclusive education: disability, out-of-school children/youth, and indigenous peoples.

Asst. Prof. Karen Sagun-Ongtangco, MSOT served as a member of the panel reactors in the research studies on disability. She was joined by Asst. Prof. Kim Gerald Medallon, Mr. Allan James Tan, and alumni Ancilla Diamante (OT 2019) and Edel Anne Asuzano (OT 2019), in presenting 6 research posters on disability-inclusive education in the marketplace section alongside PIDS.

Two research outputs, “Characterizing Success Indicators of Disability-Inclusive Education in the Philippines” and “Allied Health Care in the Philippine Education Setting: Conceptualizing Occupational Therapy Roles by Philippine Public School Professionals,” generated insights about the success indicators of an inclusive education program and how occupational therapists are viewed by the public school sector.

Meanwhile, Three researches tackled the effectiveness of the programs included for inclusive education, encompassing early detection and intervention, and the Equality and Non-Discrimination Module for the peers of the children with disability: “Outcomes of Early Detection and Intervention of Children with Disability: Perspective from Philippine Public School Administrators and Teachers”, “How do parents of Children with Disability perceive outcomes of Early Detection and Intervention”, “Can the Equality and Non-Discrimination Module improve knowledge, skills and attitudes of peers of Children with Disability?”

Lastly, one study probed into experiences of teachers and parents in implementing inclusion: (“Embracing Challenges Amidst Diverging Views in Philippine Public Schools: Voices of Teachers and Parents in Transitioning to Disability-Inclusive Settings”).

Researches they presented were all participatory action researches in partnership with Save the Children’s KASALI (Kabataang Aralin sa Lahat Ibahagi), an inclusive education program, which is currently being scaled up. These researches are evidence-based advocacies in response to the social issue of overlapping marginalization experienced by children and youth with disabilities, with the intention of influencing local policies for the welfare of all children.