Prof. Abelardo Apollo I. David Jr., obtained his degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of the Philippines-Manila and a Masters of Occupational Therapy from the University of Queensland in Australia. He is an active member of the academe, teaching and developing both undergraduate and graduate programs in the University of the Philippines and at the University of Sto. Tomas. He is recognized as a local authority in the fields of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Life Skills Training and Transition-To-Work Education of youth with developmental conditions. He established pioneering Independent Living Learning Centers in the Philippines, as well as the Rehabilitation and Empowerment of Adults and Children with Handicap Foundation, Inc. and the Academia Progresiva de Manila, Inc. Through these organizations, thousands of youth with special needs from all walks of life receive much needed interventions.

Mr. David serves as a consultant for various civic organizations such as the Autism Society Philippines and for various government organizations. His tireless collaboration with both the private and public sector has earned for him and his partners, five presidential and three national awards. Among these, the 2008 World Bank’s Panibagong Paraan: A Competition for Innovative Ideas; the 2008 Apolinario Mabini Presidential Award for Rehabilitation Volunteer of the Year; The Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines’ award in 2012 and the Galing Pook Awards for Best Local Government Practices in 2013. In 2015, Prof. David’s Community-based rehabilitation program in Manila received the prestigious United Nations Public Service Awards.

Prof. David has obtained global recognition when was invited to speak on his bodies of work on Transition Education and on CBR at the United Nations, New York in 2013. Mr. David has presented in conferences locally and abroad on topics ranging from Dysphagia Management, Sensory Integration, Behavior Modification techniques, Community Based Rehabilitation, Transition Education, Life Skills and Pre vocational and vocational skills training.

The remarkable impact to the PWD Sector of Prof. David is irrefutable, yet he has chosen to remain humble and quietly goes about doing his tasks. Certainly, he is a Filipino PWD’s silent, yet effective, advocate.

Project Therapy, Education and Assimilation of Children with Handicap (TEACH): A Community-based Rehabilitation Program Template for Children in Poor Communities


The high disability prevalence, costly rehabilitation and related services, as well as the lack of qualified health professionals and special education teachers, make access to help for children with Autism and other developmental conditions even more difficult. In response to this predicament experienced especially in developing countries, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities presents Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR) as a strategy that can promote the health, rehabilitation and integration of persons with Disabilities. A central principle of CBR is empowering persons with disabilities and their families to help themselves. This is consistent with “Nothing About Us, Without Us”, a core advocacy of persons with disabilities in their plight for self-reliance and integration. Variations of CBR have been implemented globally. However, it is widely acknowledged that keeping these programs sustainable can be a challenge especially in poor communities.

This presentation aims to present Project Therapy, Education and Assimilation of Children with Handicap (TEACH), an innovative CBR program in the Philippines primarily established for children and youth with developmental conditions such as autism. Through the years, Project TEACH has earned numerous local and international recognitions as a best practice model in CBR. Most recently, the 2015 United Nations Public Service Awards. Project TEACH effectively provides poor families access to a streamlined network of free medical, rehabilitation, wellness, educational and related services geared towards these youth and children’s integration into society yet preventing a dole-out culture. The main processes entailed in setting up the program and how the community participates will be detailed in the presentation with the hope of offering the audience a framework for developing socially inclusive CBR programs. Moreover, factors contributing to the program’s success, the challenges encountered and the project’s impact from the perspective of key stakeholders will be presented.

 Transition and Work Training Programs: Preparing Youth with Autism for Life.


Gainful employment for persons with special needs used to be a far-fetched aspiration for many families of persons with Autism and other developmental conditions. But now, there are increasing stories of success that suggest that this dream can be achievable after all.

Transition Education and Work Training Programs offer individualized training programs that are tailor-cut to perfectly suit the students’ needs. These programs aim to develop the students’ work behaviors and skills that are necessary for vocational pursuits. Training is usually conducted in simulated and actual work environments

Schools offering Work Training Programs for adolescents and young adults with developmental conditions first discover the interests and potentials of the students. Next, they are taught fundamental life and work skills in controlled environments. Once the students have met the competencies for mainstream employment, the school helps find job opportunities that match the students’ interests and skills. Regular monitoring by a job coach is performed to ensure the sustainability of the students’ work experience.

The Independent Living Learning Centre (ILLC) is a learning facility in the Philippines that caters to youth with Autism and other developmental conditions. It is widely considered as a local pioneer transition education and work training programs. With its graduates now being contributing members of the workforce, ILLC has indeed successfully enabled many of its students to achieve their optimum level of independence. This presentation offers an account of ILLC’s transition and work training programs and protocols with particular emphasis on its good teaching, curricular and organizational practices. Stories of some of ILLC’s students’ actual experiences will be presented to help illustrate how work training programs can make a positive impact in their lives, their family and their community.