Deped Order 44 : Educational Programs and Services for Learners with Disabilities

Whether young or old, people with disabilities experience restrictions brought on by their condition, making it hard to develop the basic skills and education necessary to advance in life and achieve their goals. With that said, the Department of Education (DepEd) issued the DepEd Order (DO) 44, series (s.) 2021, to address the needs of learners with disabilities and ensure access to quality learning instruction. But what is this order for, and how can it help learners with disabilities? To find out, read on as we share what DepEd Order 44 is all about.

Also Read: DepEd Order 37 Series of 2022: Suspension of Classes Due to Disasters and Calamity

Since learners with disabilities will have difficulties accessing formal education, DepEd Order 44 will address this issue by providing them with suitable and relevant educational programs, services, and interventions, regardless of their disability, culture, gender, or financial status. This policy requires schools to assess and determine the needs of learners with disabilities and help them create an educational plan based on their goals and performance. That’s why all concerned, especially parents/guardians of these learners, should be informed about this policy.

deped order 44 persons with disabilities

What is DepEd Order 44?

On November 2, 2021, the department issued the DepEd Order (DO) 44, series (s.) 2021, titled the “Policy Guidelines on the Provision of Educational Programs and Services for Learners with Disabilities in the K to 12 Basic Education Program.” This policy aligns with Section 3 of Republic Act No. 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013. It also conforms with the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Sections 8 and 8.2.

The order provides a comprehensive guide to organizing, managing, and implementing programs, services, and interventions suitable for learners with disabilities at all levels. Furthermore, it may function as a guide for external partners and stakeholders in attending to the necessity of learners with disabilities. Thus, DepEd Order 44 helps ensure that learners with disabilities receive the appropriate programs and services catering to their needs.

Policy Guidelines on the Provision of Educational Programs and Services for Learners with Disabilities


As per the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank, an estimated 15% of the overall population worldwide lives with some disability. Meanwhile, there are 15 million Filipinos out of 100 million who have disabilities. Their disabilities cause restrictions and difficulties, especially for learners, preventing them from accessing basic education. Therefore, the Department of Education (DepEd) issued the DO 44, s. 2021 to boost its plan in determining learners with disabilities in the country.

DepEd will also provide relevant and suitable educational interventions, ensuring Filipino learners with disabilities can access quality education. The Magna Carta emphasizes that Philippine society includes persons with disabilities and their similar rights as others. Moreover, the objective of this policy is to provide overall guidance and direction in providing educational programs and services for learners with disabilities, no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, or financial condition. Comprehensive Guide on Providing Educational.


The DepEd Order 44 will provide a comprehensive direction or guide for the Special Education (SPED) Program, ensuring the delivery of educational services for learners with disabilities in private or public basic education institutions. Additionally, DepEd will see to it that Filipino learners with disabilities equally receive opportunities to partake in the K to 12 basic education program fully. This policy encloses the provision of the following:

  • Educational services
  • Assessment
  • Curriculum
  • Teachers
  • Learning delivery
  • Learning environment and resources
  • Roles and responsibilities

Policy Statement

By issuing this policy, DepEd will ensure the enactment of the following:

  • Acknowledge that learners with disabilities have rights to access comprehensive, unbiased, relevant, and quality basic education through the provision of efficient and effective educational services
  • Provide learners with disabilities with a learning environment that helps increase their holistic development
  • Provide learners with disabilities support services based on a fair educational program and recognize their diversity
  • Provide learners with disabilities educational assistance that simplifies their pursuit of primary, secondary, vocational, and technical education in private or public schools.
  • Offer an environment that allows learners to learn cooperatively, wherever, no matter their differences or difficulties, and seek to form inclusive schools.

Promote collaboration and cooperation among educational stakeholders, including teachers, school leaders, parents, guardians, and specialists from relevant fields to ensure the well-being and development of learners with disabilities.

Guiding Principles

As specified in the DO 21, s. 2019, DepEd sticks to the principles of inclusion and responsiveness to rights, sensitivity, and context. Also, it complies with the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Child (1989), from the child’s best interest, non-discrimination, participation, survival, and development.

Educational Programs and Services under DepEd Order 44

To ensure the necessities and learning preferences of learners with disabilities, schools should offer the following programs and services:

A. Identification and Referral Process

Before learners with disabilities undergo the identification and referral process, teachers must perform the child-find or child-mapping activity by cooperating with the local government unit (LGU) or barangay officials through advance registration. For child-mapping, the method and procedures are in a separate policy. To recognize SPED Program learners, perform the following procedures:

  • Start acknowledging learners exhibiting atypical needs compared to peers of the same age.
  • Provide applicable interventions to learners with atypical needs. If successful, the referral is no longer required.
  • Refer learners with atypical needs to a relevant specialist for assessment. But ask for the approval and consent of their parents/guardians before doing so.
  • The specialist shall assess and evaluate learners with atypical needs using various assessment tools and strategies.

Once the assessment and evaluation results are out, they will be the basis for arranging the learning environment. It will also determine the learner’s eligibility for applicable educational programs and services.

B. Assessment Services

Assessing learners with disabilities is vital to determining their goals for learning and development. The assessment is also essential to continuously observe their development progress, from physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, moral-spiritual, and motor domains. Hence, learners with disabilities will receive access to psychological and multi-disciplinary assessments to help them monitor and establish their strengths and weaknesses through specialized evaluations.

Additionally, learners with disabilities should partake in national assessments as per DO 55, s. 2016. The evaluation progress should also based on their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) objectives. Teachers should also conduct formative assessments that correlate with the learner’s curriculum. Then, provide accommodations and modifications to facilitate their learning.

C. Adaptation of the K to 12 Curriculum for LWDs

To ensure the curriculum is in favor of learners with disabilities, adapt the following to the SPED Program:

1. Essential adaptive curriculum

This curriculum is for learners with extreme disabilities, helping them develop skills to manage school and daily activities. It includes adaptive skills, like communication, social skills, home living, self-care, health, safety, self-direction, academics, work, and leisure. Also, the curriculum includes orientation, mobility, sign language, speech, rhythm, Braille reading, and writing.

2. Curriculum content adaptations

For learners with disabilities who have unique requirements and abilities, teachers will perform the following adaptations to the curriculum:

  • Adaptation in pedagogy
  • Use Alternative Delivery Modes (ADMs) program under the Flexible Learning Options (FLOs), such as Modified In-School Off-School Approach (MISOSA), Open High School, and Homeschooling.
  • Provide additional content on the curriculum for learners with hearing or visual impairment to assist them in developing essential skills to handle the daily demands they may experience.
  • Establish the use of the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) and the diverse FSL for deaf learners in basic education.

3. Transition skills and competencies

This program can help learners with disabilities develop and enhance their life and career, socio-emotional, pre-vocational, and livelihood skills. Thus, preparing learners with disabilities is vital for transition skills and competencies. Through this program and other relevant services, learners with disabilities will receive a link from one location, situation, or phase to another, allowing them to adjust and transition before moving into more integrated and inclusive learning provisions.

4. The K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum for the Alternative Learning System (ALS-L to 12) 

By availing of this program, learners with disabilities will also receive opportunities to enhance their basic and functional literacy skills. It’s comparable to accomplishing basic education for learners with disabilities and out-of-school youth and adults. The curriculum of this program has six (6) interconnected learning strands, proposing content knowledge and functional literacy.

D. Development of an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)

The IEP is essential for all learners with disabilities since it contains their learning goals using the K to 12 basic education curriculum as the base. In addition, the IEP may encompass their goals, which help learners prepare for the curriculum and transition program. All concerned in developing the program should ensure it’s well-planned, consistently supervised, and analyzed regularly to confirm that the learner’s progress conforms with their goals or performance.

E. Resource Room Services

A resource room is mandatory in all schools with enrollment for learners with disabilities, excluding those with or employed by Inclusive Learning Resource Centers (ILRCs). It’s for additional support services, including:

  • Therapy services.
  • Tutorial or remedial sessions for learners with disabilities exhibiting difficulties in performing expected instructional goals or at risk of failing.
  • Assessment services for educational placement and referral of learners with disabilities.
  • Specific instructional interventions and other relevant services not available in general education classrooms, like instruction on vital skills and competencies of SPED teachers.

F. Adaptation of Learning Resources and ICT

Aside from that, adaptations of resources are vital to ensure learners with disabilities can fully partake in all learning experiences within schools and communities. These learning resources should also conform with the curriculum standards and implemented through teacher-developed materials, assistive devices, and technologies. Also, teachers can utilize Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to assist learners with disabilities.

G. Educational Placement

In general education classrooms, the placement of learners with disabilities differs based on their unique needs and other necessities. With that said, schools must provide applicable educational placement to address the needs of learners with disabilities. Below are the suggested placement options for these learners:

  • Full inclusion in the general education classroom – for learners with disabilities who can cope with the required activities with essential instructional assistance.
  • Partial inclusion with resource room services – ideal for learners with disabilities who can cope with at least 50% to 70% of the required activities in major learning areas.
  • Self-contained Class – it’s exclusive for learners with disabilities identified or diagnosed with extreme disabilities.

H. Programs

All school heads and teachers must initiate, design, and implement applicable programs for learners with disabilities. Additionally, schools should ensure that all programs observe the DO 55, s. 2013, titled the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, considering that learners with disabilities are more susceptible to various forms of violence against children, such as bullying and child abuse.

Meanwhile, the SPED Program no longer covers the Gifted and Talented program. Instead, it’s categorized under the Special Curricular Programs administered from Grades 4-10. Similarly, the gradual phase-out of the Head Start Program commences in the school year 2021 to 2022 onwards.

I. Program Delivery

Educational institutions should provide SPED Programs to learners with disabilities in various delivery modes/options. Delivering the programs to learners also depends on their health condition, family structure, distance of residence from the school, and other factors decided by school officials. Hence, any or a combination of the following program delivery modes may be applied:

  • School-Based – In this delivery mode, SPED or General Education teachers will handle learners with disabilities by providing them with learning instruction within the school setting.
  • Community-Based – Learners with disabilities may also receive learning instruction within a designated place in the community. For instance, SPED teachers or trained volunteers may teach by performing classes in community facilities, such as Barangay Hall or Spiritual venues.
  • Hospital-Based – For learners with disabilities receiving health supervision from medical specialists, SPED teachers may deliver them learning instruction within the premises of hospital confinement.

Home-Based – SPED teachers, in cooperation with trained volunteers and family members, may deliver learning instruction to learners with disabilities within their home or an orphanage premises.

DepEd Order 44 Full PDF Memo Download

If you want to download the full memo of DepEd Order no. 44, s. 2021, you can access it through the official website of the Department of Education. We have also provided a link below for your convenience:

Stay updated with the latest DepEd orders and memoranda by regularly visiting their website or subscribing to their official social media channels.

Video: DO No. 44 Series 2021 Group-7

To learn more about the DepEd Order 44, watch the video below:

As stated in the video, the DepEd Order 44 series 2021 is a significant comprehensive guideline for schools and their personnel to manage and implement suitable programs, services, and interventions that can help develop learners with disabilities. This policy provides an inclusive framework, like the Madrasah Education, SPED, Alternative Learning System (ALS), and Special Curricular Program. Therefore, all learners will receive suitable and relevant learning opportunities based on their culture, disabilities, unique needs, individual differences, diverse fields, or those who can’t access formal education.


Like students receiving formal education, learners with disabilities have the right to access adequate and quality learning instruction to help them develop and enhance essential skills to cope with everyday life. With the issuance of DepEd Order 44 series 2021, the department promotes and ensures the provision of applicable educational programs and services for learners with disabilities while addressing their conditions and unique needs. Therefore, we encourage parents and guardians of learners with any form of disability to take advantage of the programs and services under DepEd Order 44.


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