Unwavering efforts for the differently abled | Executive Minister inaugurates the NEU-SPED Program Simulation House

           As the director of the New Era University-Integrated School Special Education program, Brother Ed H. Lumbao is asked by many parents for advice about their major concern: how their children can be capable of independently doing household activities and take care of their personal hygiene as they grow up.
Hence the establishment of the NEU-SPED Program Simulation House. “Home setting is one of the requirements of the Department of Education in the Philippines for the accreditation of a special education program in a school setup. We actually have a home setting in one of our classrooms before where our students with special needs were trained primarily in doing household chores, cooking, and baking. However, as the years went by, the Church Administration of the Iglesia Ni Cristo had seen the need to upgrade our former facility, to better cater to our students’ needs,” he explained. 

         On March 27, 2018, the students, parents, faculty members, and staff of the NEU Main Campus in Quezon City gathered for the inauguration of the SPED Simulation House led by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, with his wife, Sister Lynn V. Manalo. The simulation house is composed of different areas found in a normal house, like a living room, comfort room, kitchen, laundry area, bedroom, terrace, and garden. With this facility, students with special needs will be trained in doing daily activities in a home setting and other skills necessary for them to live independently.
Sister Maiden B. Sandoval’s two children with special needs are much in need of the skills training to be offered by the new simulation house. “My husband and I decided to let our children continue their studies here in the NEU-SPED Program because of their functional skills training. Another factor to consider is our children’s security, and NEU is able to provide that to its students,” she said. 

            Having a similar concern, Mrs. Irene U. Del Puerto, a mother of a senior high school student with special needs was looking for a school that could better cater to her child’s needs. “I transferred my son to NEU upon his former teacher’s recommendation, saying that NEU can better monitor my child’s development. Observing his activities in school now, I can say that the simulation house can help my son learn how to be more responsible and aware of his surroundings,” she said. “It will also help him prepare for pursuing a college degree in the future.”
Brother Romulo B. Rutao, incoming Grade-12 student of the SPED Program, expressed his excitement upon the inauguration of the simulation house. “There are complete materials and equipment for baking inside the simulation house. I want to learn more how to make bread, ganache, muffin, and cupcake,” he enthused. “Thank you so much, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.” 

          This project is just one of the many efforts of the Church Administration in caring for children with special needs. Other projects include the Mobile Rooms for fine and gross motor skills training; Special Summer Program; INCenter for educational assessment of children with special needs; the Embrace Café, with deaf assistants; and the NEU-SPED program, which offers mainstream, full inclusion, transition, and vocational programs.
Sister Maiden expressed her heartfelt thanks for our Almighty God’s love, through the Church Administration’s projects in the NEU-SPED Program: “We [parents] are now hopeful for our children’s future. We thought before that our children’s capabilities are so limited, but with God’s love, and with the parents and professionals collaborating for the sake of the children, we realized that many doors are open for our children’s future. We are so thankful to Brother Eduardo V. Manalo for providing us with this kind of facility, which will truly benefit our children.” 

Written by REGINE DENOLO with research assistance from ALEJANDRO SINO CRUZ JR.

This article was first published in Pasugo magazine on April 2018.