The SENIA Manila Youth Chapter aims to advocate and inspire teachers and the community about the gifts and abilities of students with special education needs.
Andrea Zubiri, one of the first members of SENIA Manila Youth Chapter, shared her dream for Philippine higher education.
“I will not be where I am today without God’s love and his grace. My name is Andrea Zubiri and I am a photography graduate from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. I graduated last March 2016 and I am heading off to New York for further studies this May. I am going to New York not just for studies but also to live there for a while. After graduating, I had a few freelance job opportunities which have been fun and exciting. I hope to continue photography as my main career.
My advocacy, along with my fellow SENIA Youth members, friends and educators, is for students with learning disabilities to have better access to higher education. I hope that one day colleges in the Philippines would be able to practice support for students who need it the most. This way, we can teach students how to be self-advocates and how to find success while they are studying and after they graduate. Support class in high school has helped me through my college journey and it still helps me in my everyday life. In high school, I was taught how to be a self-advocate and ask for extensions and tell the professor about my ADHD. I also asked them how I can do better in class. This skill has helped me get better grades and pass.
After going through college, I am starting some college workshops about ADHD, dyslexia and other disabilities. I accomplish this by connecting and partnering with SENIA Youth and student organizations in different Philippine colleges. So far, we had a few talks about ADHD . I hope to facilitate future workshops on how to deal with students with dyslexia. My alma mater, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, has hosted some of our events. I hope that one day, the Philippines will be as aware as the United States when it comes to special needs and student support. There is a long way to go because it is not only the teachers who need to be aware but also the students and the community. It is important that the environment is inclusive so that everyone can succeed and feel accepted.
One act of kindness can make a difference. The purpose for spreading awareness in colleges is that after high school, students are expected to act like adults. Students are expected to achieve in the same pace as everyone else. The truth is, we all learn differently and even students and people with ADHD do not have the same kind of ADHD. I want colleges to be a place of success. That is my dream.
Do you have other inspiring stories about special education? Share your story through the SENIA Submit a Story Form.