Inclusive Education advocates for the integration of students with special needs in an educative environment with non-special needs students. It operates under the notion that social interaction in a mixed classroom better prepares the students for challenges and successes in real life situations. In recent years, many academic institutions have implemented inclusive policies in hopes of empowering the differently abled community through education. Yet according to UNICEF, 93 million children live with disabilities and 50% of these children do not attend school. Problems also arise from the range of disabilities and providing for the subsequent needs of these students. Those whose disabilities are invisible, also known as non-apparent disabilities, are complicated to identify and accommodate. This paper examined the lived experiences in Higher Education Institutions of eight (8) non-apparent persons with disabilities using the phenomenological method. Each elaborated how they were diagnosed with the disability, its academic and social effects, and their proposed policies in the implementation for inclusive education. The results show recurring themes of struggling with acceptance of the diagnosis; academic difficulties including fulfilling course requirements due to episodes and social conflicts such as having to convince teachers and other persons of authority of their disability, discrimination in using PWD facilities, etc. They agree that in implementing inclusive education policies, non-apparent disabilities are overlooked and that there should be an efficient and non-invasive system to identify, acknowledge and accommodate non-apparent PWDs.
Rhodaviv Avila, Camarines Norte State College , Philippines
Stream: Learning Experiences
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