04 SES 10 A, Access to Education for Students with Disabilities in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Since 1999, children with disabilities (CWD) in Thailand are entitled to 12 years of free education (Carter 2006). However, educational services are often limited to cities. Special Education Centers and friends are the main sources of information on schools accepting CWD. In general, inclusive facilities are limited. Many special schools offer boarding facilities. Once filled to capacity, children have to travel long distances unless members of their family move to Bangkok or other major cities. Traditionally, teachers play an important role in Thai society (Howard 2009) and CWD appreciate that they have access to school. However, if the children and parents are dissatisfied with the quality of teaching or the facilities provided, they have little alternatives. In the course of several phases of qualitative field studies as part of the international project CLASDISA, more than 20 case studies have been conducted (including interviews with CWD, their parents and teachers). The paper shares insights on several barriers regarding access to education of CWD. These include parents’ lack of accurate information on educational/health related services which could increase the number of CWD participating in early education as well as barriers posed through societal attitudes.
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