Born without arms and legs, Toyeeba Soumair, a girl from Narathiwat province, never thought that she would get a chance to explore the world of computers until she met HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at Baan Plug Pla School 11 years ago. That moment changed her life.”Since the young girl has no arms at all, we had to design a computer which has a special switch device, which allows her to easily perform mouse functions using her shoulder with just one click,” Pairach Thajchayapong, the vice chairman of the Princess’s IT project, said. IT for the Disabled Program under the Princess’ IT Project in Thailand is an exemplary project to provide assistance to students with disabilities through the use of technology.
In 1998, Srisangwan School became part of this project. Computers were placed in the regular classrooms, 10 in each for grades 1 to 6. The National Electronic and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC) has provided training for teachers at Srisangwan School on how to assess the capabilities of disabled children in order to identify the most appropriate assistance for them, and on how to effectively utilize IT tools for working with disabled children. The school also receives support from physical therapists, speech therapists, special educationists, and computer instructors to create individual curricula to suit each child’s special needs and physical abilities. The computer skills of the students at Srisangwan School have been shown to be of the same standard as those of non-disabled students, and the teachers are capable of using computer-assisted instruction programs to support their own teaching.
Kawila Anukul School is a school for children with learning difficulties in Chiang Mai province. In addition to a computer workshop facility, the Program has also constructed an IT-assisted classroom at Kawila Anukull. In this classroom, computers are used as a teaching aid together with other technologies that make it possible for students with writing, speech, or learning difficulties to learn and develop necessary skills.
Source: Adapted from UNESCO Bangkok online resources