PJ was diagnosed as having Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified or Autism, when he was a child. Although he had difficulties with the academic subjects, he was persistent to learn. He underwent different therapy services to help him develop his skills to hone his potentials. He is now a licensed librarian at one of the universities in Metro Manila.
JEPM has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He loves to finish his tasks in the shortest time possible even if it means not checking up if his answers are correct or not. He loves sports, playing video games and talking. If there’s one thing that will make him sit down and work relentlessly, it would be to give him drawing materials. He delighted in copying superhero illustrations from comic books when he was younger. He is now in college taking up Fine Arts.
GA has Autism. Alongside his behavioral and learning concerns, he struggled through school and graduated from high school last year. He is now a college freshman taking up a course on Entrepreneurship.
KC was diagnosed with Language Learning Disability. He has a hard time composing sentences and paragraphs in its written form as well as in verbal form. He sometimes has difficulty finding the right word to say and feels the right word is always “at the tip of my tongue”. He also finds it difficult to give elaborate verbal instructions and tell clear and concise stories. Give him a camera and a computer though and he is in his best element. He now has a degree in Digital Film-making.
JEM has ADHD. As a child, he needed therapy services to be able to help him converse well. He was also given behavior modification techniques to help him check his behavior and coping skills. He is now finishing his thesis and will be graduating this year with a degree in Multimedia Arts.
How do I know these kids? I have worked with them: MJ from 3rd grade till 6th grade, JEPM from 2nd grade till he was a college freshman, GA from 4th grade till college freshman, KC from 2nd grade till 4th year HS and JEM when he was 4 years old till 3rd year HS.
I am as proud as their parents for all the accomplishments despite the odds.
One of the things that set these children apart from other children is that they have been diagnosed with developmental disorders. Coupled with the diagnoses are behavioral concerns affecting their learning abilities and social and interpersonal skills among others. They have, however, persisted and came through. Without the full support of their families and the early intervention therapy services, however, these accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible.
They were also able to “defy the odds” and were able to attain college degrees that seemed impossible when they were still in the early grades. They were fortunate enough to be at the right time and the right place, when newer courses have been developed, made specifically for their skills and interests.
Non-traditional college courses are now available to typically-developing as well as atypically-developing students who have specific abilities and skills.
Oversubscribed and under-subscribed courses
In the Philippines, The college courses that are oversubscribed or chosen as more popular are the following:
• Business administration
• Nursing and other Allied Medical Courses
• Teacher Education
• Hotel and Restaurant Management
• Information Technology
The undersubscribed or less popular courses are the following:
• Architectural and Town Planning
• Natural Science
• Trade, Craft and Industrial disciplines
• Home Economics
Traditional versus non-traditional courses
Traditional college courses are those courses that have been studied and offered by universities for a long time. These courses are from the discipline of the Sciences, Arts, Engineering, Business, Teacher Training, Allied Medical Professions and Information Technology. These are courses that see a lot of enrolees year after year.
Non-traditional courses are newer courses that stem from traditional courses. These courses are more like specialized fields where the learnings, trainings and skills are honed based on a particular specialization.
Some examples of non-traditional courses are the following:
• For the Design and Arts, there are different specializations like animation, digital film making, photography, production design, fashion design, dance and theatre arts.
• For Information Technology, the different specializations may include computer applications, information systems, and game design.
• For the Hotel and restaurant Management, there are offshoots if one wants to specialize in hospitality or tourism management or culinary arts.
Non-traditional courses are also courses that are taken online, where the students get their video and written lectures and take quizzes and tests online. They may have a face-to-face interaction if the school is a local university or have online support and study groups if the content provider is based overseas. Some of the courses here are specific topics like Positive Psychology, Child Nutrition or Classroom Behavior Management. Those who chose to enrol under these programs may either pay to get certificates or may enrol for free to be issued statements of accomplishments.
Skills-based and service-oriented vocational courses
Another path to take to achieve higher education for high school graduates would be to enrol in skills-based and service-oriented vocational courses. There are schools offering short-term courses and are affiliated and certified by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA.
Some of these short-term courses are the following:
• Visual graphic design
• Medical coding
• Massage therapy
• Dental hygiene
• Automotive-related courses
• Food processing
• Small engine servicing
• Beauty care
• Events management
• Front Office Services
• Computer hardware Services
These short-term courses are mostly for the skills development and training of our country’s human resources.
The possibilities and opportunities to hone one’s skills and abilities are endless. Whether one is a graduate of the more traditional full course, or a non-traditional newer course or a certified and trained skills-based graduate, it is important to take pride in one’s accomplishments and put to good use what has been learned. This works both ways for the good of the person himself and for his contribution to his country as a responsible citizen.