Research Center for Inclusion

Formerly known as NLR Mekong

Supporting children with disabilities with love and understanding

My name is Pham Thi Thao. I am currently working at Tuong Lai Specialized school, which was established in 2001. In 2006, I became a teacher and began teaching students with disabilities. I have had many memories at the school – taking care of and teaching children with a variety of disabilities such as down syndrome, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy and autism. This is a group of disadvantaged children with limited physical and mental development. They have difficulties in learning basic skills from crawling, sitting, walking, speaking to learning skills; from using the toilet to learning how to protect themselves and how to make friends; from learning how to do a craft job to actually doing that job. They always need support, sympathy and sharing.

Teaching a normal child is already difficult, and it is a thousand times more difficult to teach a child with disability. Families who bring their children to school always wish their children to improve. As teachers, we share the same hope, sometimes much more than the parents themselves.

The joy of teachers who teach children with disabilities sometimes comes very simple. We burst into joy when the child could feed himself, when they wrote doodles with defective hands or when they babbled “teacher”. Teachers need to share love, understand and put ourselves in students’ positions in order to understand their needs and give appropriate support depending on the limitations of the children.

Every day at the school, my colleagues and I welcome students to class and together we do all school activities all day. We have lunch and have breaks with the children, we teach them to do crafts with paper, cloth, and beads. I also assist my students in joining social activities such as local festivals, life skills exchange and sports games, picnicking, performing and training for people with disabilities.

The teaching and rearing children with disability in our area still face many difficulties. Families do not have good economic conditions as well as knowledge to understand and raise their children. The schools does not have sufficient facilities and equipment to support teaching and learning of children with disabilities in various types. The community needs to enhance their awareness of disability and expand extracurricular activities, vocational orientation and job creation to help children with disability be more accepted in the community.