Comparison USA & Thai Law

Topics: Special education, Resource room, Education Pages: 34 (8242 words) Published: February 26, 2014

Vol 28, No: 1, 2013

Doris Adams Hill
Auburn University
Sasipin Sukbunpant
Chiangmai Rajabhat University

The history of special education in the United States and Thailand has followed a similar path in many ways. Both countries made compulsory education mandatory to move in a positive direction in providing special education services to children with disabilities including the provision of services for children with ASD or Autism. In Thailand, monitoring of compliance with disability law, and negative attitudes by society overall toward individuals with disabilities hamper enforcement of law, distribution of resources, family involvement, and access to individualized education programs and inclusion of students with disabilities. While effective treatments for autism have been documented in the US, this knowledge and training on effective interventions is often not filtered to more rural US schools or outside US borders. Increased collaborations within and between countries to increase knowledge and expertise is recommended. Research based interventions should be taught and implemented in countries such as Thailand and other nations.

History of Thai Special Education
In the past, Thai education primarily revolved around two institutions, religious and royal education. Buddhist monks taught education to boys only. They studies in temples and learned both academic and religious subjects simultaneously. The other type of education was for children of the royal household and for upper class families, who were educated in order to serve in the court and govern in the provinces. During the reign of King Rama V (1863-1910 A.D.) there was increased recognition of the need for educated people to staff the growing bureaucracy. As a result, the Thai education system was modernized and made more accessible to the general public. This began with the 1898 Education Proclamation, which was strongly influenced by the British system. Later the Thai education system continued to grow and now the Ministry of Education is responsible for providing public education for Thai children (Sunsite Thailand, 2010).

Presently, education is provided by educational institutions as well as learning centers organized by individuals, families, communities, or private groups, local administration organizations, professional bodies, religious institutions, welfare institutes; and other social institutions (Office of the Permanent Secretary for Education, 2010). The Thai education system consists of 12 years of free basic education: 6 years of primary education and 6 years of secondary education. Enrollment in the basic education system begins at the age of 6. However, all preschool children will be provided with a minimum of a one-year school readiness program. Most young children of this age attend a preschool class attached to primary schools (Office of the Education Council, 2008).

The history of Thai special education has similarities to other Buddhist countries. Children with disabilities were originally seen as a symbol that the family might have committed some sin in the past (Driedger, 1989). Persons with disabilities were considered useless and worthless, with no future. Because of this perception, Thai children with disabilities were kept at home and denied an education. Even with the compulsory educational act in 1935, The Ministry of Education allowed a child to stay at home because of his/her disability condition (Sukbunpant, Shiraishi, & Kuroda, 2004). In 1939, Genevieve Caulfield, a blind American teacher, provided initial leadership in Thai special education. She was the first person who taught children with visual impairments to live as independent, productive members of society. Caulfield and her friends established the Bangkok School for...

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