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Help for children with learning disabilities.

Discussion in 'Education from Thailand' started by Gor Blimey Guvnur!, 15 Nov 2016.

  1. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! Thread Starter What the duck ! Staff Member

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    A report from the Bangkok post indicating some action is to be taken on what I personally see as a pressing matter that has long been ignored. However, concrete action is better than just more words... I hope they get serious about this ... I live in hope.

    Struggling students to receive help | Bangkok Post: news

    I'm sure many of you teachers out there, including myself have had many students with difficulties of one or another. My own experience in trying to 'educate' these children is from a laymans point of view and only what I have educated myself in trying to understand these problems. No, I am not a special needs teacher, thus I am not qualified to assess a child correctly with a learning disability nor be able to offer an appropriate course of action. Indeed I think there is no such Thai teacher in my entire school either.

    "Initial screening and ongoing monitoring of pupils' performance is important for being able to detect problems quickly. If we are not actively looking for them, we may miss opportunities to intervene early," Mr. Dapong said."

    Good, but who can do this in a school with no qualified special needs teachers/administrators? A couple of paragraphs later asking teachers 'to look out' for problems ... so a layman decides? However, it is also indicated that a 'test' may be set up for teachers in how to assess, though little detail is offered as to how teachers would become educated in this respect.

    "In some cases, an evaluation may include a medical exam, a family history discussion, and intellectual and school performance testing"

    Ouch ! I know from some of my co-workers that trying to tell a parent that there is a problem with their child leads to big time 'loss of face' in quite a few cases ....thus many teachers avoid such potential conflict. I'm not saying it's right to 'avoid' but it is a reality nonetheless.

    "However, students with severe disabilities may need to be taught in separate educational programmes designed to meet their needs."

    Yes, and I agree if the diagnosis is a 'severe' condition. However, in my town afaik there is not a single special needs school and afaik neither a dedicated special needs unit in any existing Prathom school (unsure about Matayom schools though). So where do they go? It is promised though that 'increased funding' will appear for the next academic year.

    Let's see and I do hope the powers continue down this road and turn these words into action along with educating teachers properly in schools in how to assess conditions and how to take or refer appropriate action for the individual student.
     
  2. evl

    evl Active Member

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    It seems like a positive start and it will take time to train teachers in what to look for and ways to deal with different learning difficulties.

    The intention should be that when a teacher notices an issue, that begins a process which leads to getting a professional diagnosis by referral to a qualified person.

    Hopefully it will not be entirely up to individual teachers to inform parents of their suspicions without the support of the school and with documented evidence of behavior or performance issues. I imagine there would be less (or no) loss of face if a learning difficulty explains already recognized issues with the student.

    Diagnosis would be the first step of finding students that would need such services. I would expect the number of services to grow as demand increases, which eventually would spread to areas with smaller populations.

    One good thing to remember is that trying deal with this issue better would be beneficial to ALL students as the teacher should have to spend less time dealing with the consequences of those undiagnosed/unsupported students, such as students who can't complete work, fail tests, or behave in disruptive or difficult ways.
     
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  3. sirchai

    sirchai Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot for bringing up this topic. I have and had quite a few students where such a diagnosis would be quite difficult, even for a specialist. On the other hand, I haven't yet seen such a specialist, even at primary schools with 2, 500 + students.

    What I did experience were certain students who're basically only kept out of the classroom because none of the teachers could deal with their behavioral problems.

    Psychology was and still is my favorite subject and bringing my knowledge into teaching and helping various kids who seem to be "unteachable" is indeed a huge challenge that takes a lot of energy away from you as the educator.

    There are not enough qualified people in this country who could even differentiate between a quite common homemade "learning disorder"when kids already know that they can't fail and a soft, or hardcore form of schizophrenia.

    Without trying to take your butter of your bread now, the country's spiked with too many factors that almost make it impossible to even talk about a particular student, especially when it's the son/daughter of a teacher at this particular school or any other child/teenager of a VIP.

    Finding solutions to mentioned disorders in any form are always hindered by the face losing society in LOS.

    I've just recently researched plenty of disorders, partly some theories about them, as a part of my assignments, I had to deliver for my Teaching Diploma and I'm really happy that I didn't just copy and paste some stuff that people posted on the net.

    One of my assignments was to answer some questions about "dyslexia" and I finally found out that neither dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, nor the importance of the eyes and ears seemed to be important enough to be mentioned for those who'll soon receive a full Teacher's License. ( Question mark)

    In my eyes, a complete failure of the institution itself because not even dyslexia was properly researched by most of the students, nor really understood.

    But I found a lot of contradiction in plenty of researchers' opinions and tried to put the bits and bytes together in a way that I am able to deal with various "difficult to teach" students.

    The biggest problem, in my opinion, seems to be that there are too many different types of so-called learning disorders and the diagnosis wouldn't be possible by a homeroom teacher, or somebody who's only keeping such kids busy that they don't burn down the school, or kill a foreigner because of his long and white nose.

    One of my ex-students at my former school was so next to his shadow that they had to hire a woman who then spent the whole day with him somewhere outside, far away from other kids. But she didn't seem to be a "special needs" teacher at all. It was only a weird solution made by some hypocrites.

    I always did my best and tried to build up a relationship with the affected students which seemed to work out well. An Aussie who didn't believe me that a particular grade five boy was more than dangerous, got luckily rescued by me right before the boy was trying to throw a very heavy wooden chair on his head.

    Not trying to capture your thread, a good example might be Europe when they figured out that an ordinary car mechanic always messed up when it came to simple electric, or electronic. You can't see electricity, finding an electrical/ electronic problem is more difficult than an oil change, or similar.

    The solution for this problem was to create a new occupation called "mechatronics."

    But most Auto mechanic places where they only do simple mechanical work, don't have the cash to hire a specialist to do the difficult jobs with serious electronic knowledge involved. Thailand is a great example, please see how they check if a wire's carrying power.

    They hold a plus wire/cable on the chassis to see if there's a spark ( minus) and finally blow the fuse. And to replace a 5 Amp with a 30 Amp fuse is possible, but not for long until the cables burn. Not really cool when you've changed your vehicle from benzine to gas....

    And too many Thai teachers have quite a few blown fuses when they come to school. But they don't go to see a specialist which would involve further education, including a no face losing attitude.

    It's more convenient when a whitey writes their Master's thesis or anything else related to a PhD or perhaps a Doctorate degree.

    And that's what Thailand really needs. More guys like the OP and Thai teachers who try to understand that the earth isn't really flat.

    Sorry, mate. Wasn't planning to come up with such a long post. I truly apologize for my nasty behavior./
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2016
  4. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher Well-Known Member

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    That's great that the government has recognized that 'learning disorders' exist. You also have kids that are on the autism spectrum or have dual disorders.

    How it works in my school, is that if we notice in grade 2 or higher that they are 'special' in that they have certain behaviors or are falling behind their peers. We may first talk to the parents about it. The problem in China, is that many parents don't want to hear that their child may have an issue. Sometimes the parents are on board and over time, they realize that their child may do better in a special needs school. We do not have one-on-one TA's that they have in the west. These children are included as much as possible.

    What made me really sad was when I was in Korea, and one of the Korean teachers told me to ignore one boy who was apparently a special needs child. That is how they deal with it there. Just ignore the child as they don't deserve to learn. :(
     
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  5. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher Well-Known Member

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    Are you serious? If you suspect dyslexia, usually the first thing that is recommended is to check their vision and/or hearing.
     
  6. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! Thread Starter What the duck ! Staff Member

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    So not just Thailand and their loss of face to some degree.

    Me too 4 years ago with one kid who was the son of a prominent local politician, thus at our private school for 'cough' obvious reasons. Result was 60.00% for everything so he could pass from one prathom grade to the next. Lovely kid but clearly had a lot of problems from birth ...however I choose for 2 years of teaching him to include him as much as possible ...guess what, he made great progress in speaking and listening but just could not grasp the reading and writing side of English. He was badly behaved in many Thai teachers classes and not in mine (at worst in my class some days he would switch off but was never disruptive) ....I do believe that by trying my best to include him in the classroom and classroom activities that it made a big difference. I also remember how many a Thai teacher rolled their eyes when it came to teaching him and I can understand their frustration as a teacher as we have quite large classes ...me I just tried a different approach and I found some good results. It really is here where you can make a difference, in your own classroom IMO.
     
  7. Internationalteacher

    Internationalteacher Well-Known Member

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    ^That's awesome! IME sometimes all a 'special' child needs is extra attention and to be included and made to feel important.

    My background is in Social Services before I ever went into teaching. Most of my work was with autistic children and emotionally troubled adolescents, in a home/outdoor setting.

    It really is a shame in Asia it seems that parents 'lose face' if they have a child that is struggling in some form or the other in school. These children need parental support and teacher support.

    Inclusion is happening in the west, but of course children with special needs often get a lot of support by either having a one-on-one TA or being pulled out for a part of the day. I digress..

    Anyway, Let's hope that the government does make some changes. I think a teacher such as yourself that includes children with special needs helps so much to support them and their needs.
     

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