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Working with disabled children: Part 1 January 24, 2010

Filed under: Vietnam — polyachka @ 7:40 am
Tags: , , , ,

Possible Challenges:

  • Attitude to the disabled
  • Communication
  • Treatment by staff
  • Children’s conditions (cerebral palsy, Down’s Syndrome, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, blind)
  • Common practices and changing the practices
  • Behavior of children
  • What to do if you see something you don’t like

Attitudes toward the disabled in Vietnam

Often (but by no means always) the attitude toward those with mental and/physical disabilities in Vietnam can seem startlingly cruel to many of us. Some consider a disability to be a punishment for past crimes by the family or a sign that they represent bad luck for anyone connected to them. That can lead  to abandonment and isolation for the family of the disabled child  and with little or no education in caring for a child with disabilities the stress can be overwhelming for the family, as well as increasing the suffering of that child. Often a family will take their child to a disabled center as a last resort, when they do not know where else to go. Centers for care for children with disabilities are generally poorly funded by the government whereas disabled care NGO day care centers on the other hand tend to have a more positive and open attitude, being more focused on the welfare and education of the children, and direct funding for this purpose is often evident.

Background info about disabled care centers in Vietnam.

Often carers & staff are poorly motivated, poorly trained, poorly paid and grossly overworked. Staff in the centers often develops a coping strategy of negligent laziness; they let the children down together, to avoid individual blame or personal responsibility. The staff culture often operates almost as a “closed shop”, outside of the control or supervision of the directors. Staff is often trained heavily in the importance of discipline in classrooms, having been trained to teach regular school classes rather than specifically disabled children. As a result teachers can very easily become frustrated and often resort to violence to try to maintain order.

Due to the way the government centers are run, the directors are often forced to concentrate on administration tasks, budget and funding, which keeps them at a distance from the actual work of the carers or teachers and contributes to the ability of the isolationist culture of the staff to persist.


2 Responses to “Working with disabled children: Part 1”

  1. Wayan Says:

    For February, the Educational Technology Debate will cover assitive technologies for educational systems int he developing world. Would you be interested in joining our conversation as a discussant on technologies you see appropriate for education for the disabled in Vietnam?

    • verhovzeva Says:

      I wish I could help you, but I haven’t seen any technologies used for educational purposes in the orphanage i visited so far. They simply don’t have the resources to afford or implement/maintain any.

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