By Maria Cojuangco
In the first quarter of 2020, the Philippine Government declared the whole country under “General Community Quarantine” due to the COVID-19 outbreak which limited all sectors to be confined in their respective areas unless work is considered “essential.” Due to the non-lifting of the quarantine status throughout the year in the country, unfortunately, Philippines ABA (PABA) was not able to fulfill its scheduled activities for fellowship and training for the year as all mass gatherings were prohibited. Majority of local ABA practitioners suffered greatly the consequence of the quarantine and had to put their ABA practice and services on hold due to the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the country’s economy and health care condition.
PABA members practicing ABA were faced with numerous challenges in continuing their practice and offer their services. Their concerns were brought to the attention of PABA to provide assistance. By the third quarter of the year, it was essential for PABA to address the urgent needs of its members and affiliates seeking assistance in promoting and setting ABA services through an online or virtual services for their practice and clients. PABA through some of its members who were successfully able to set up their own teams for a virtual program, put up a help desk for its members giving guidance in preparing ABA practitioners to move their practice and offer their services virtually. PABA had to focus in assisting members to be able to continue giving ABA services to those in need. Likewise, PABA extended assistance to medical practitioners in preparing their clients to adjust to a virtual learning set up. Parents were given assistance on taking up an important new role in the virtual learning set-up.
PABA members from the other regions expressed different challenges and concerns in shifting to virtual sessions due to the major inconsistencies of the online technology provided in their areas. Having a virtual set-up was more challenging for them. PABA through its ABA consultant from Singapore managed to provide some assistance in preparing for a mixed set-up to address the numerous challenges needed to be addressed in their respective regions.
PABA was able to continue its collaboration with several local universities and BCBA practitioners from the USA and Singapore in its awareness campaign giving information about ABA to be part of its course curriculum. The initial goal of these universities is to integrate ABA classes into their roster of degree courses based on the Philippine education set up and eventually fulfilling a full ABA degree course.
The unfulfilled PABA projects for 2020 were added to future projects should the Philippine Government lift all quarantine restrictions.