July 16, 2023, Pattaya Mail: Bangkok councilor calls for better support for children with special needs https://www.pattayamail.com/thailandnews/bangkok-councilor-calls-for-better-support-for-children-with-special-needs-435983
A Bangkok councilor for the Lat Krabang district has submitted a motion urging the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) council to enhance the education system in order to better support children with special needs.
Surajit Pongsingwittaya, a Pheu Thai councilor, made clear the importance of addressing the learning difficulties and disabilities faced by students aged 6 to 15, as indicated by data from the Mental Health Department. These challenges include conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism, often resulting in poor academic performance. According to Surajit, the BMA oversees 437 schools, with 158 of them offering special education programs. However, there is a shortage of specialized staff, with only 362 teachers available to instruct 4,213 students with learning disabilities. An additional 340 trained teachers are required to adequately meet the needs of these students. This group of students often goes without proper evaluation, leading to a decline in their learning capabilities when placed in regular classrooms alongside their peers.
To address these challenges, Surajit proposed that each school under the BMA implement a system for identifying and classifying students with special needs. He also stressed the importance of ensuring that all 437 schools have suitably trained teachers to support these students effectively. Additionally, he called for the establishment of an early identification system for learning disabilities, starting from kindergarten enrollment.
The motion has received support from council members and also called on the BMA to develop a comprehensive plan. This plan is expected to include providing appropriate remuneration for specialty teachers and leveraging technology to assist in meeting the educational needs of children with special needs.