Kelly Bennett - Special Educational Needs Teacher in Thailand
BA (Hons) Educational studies with Art and QTS
Five years of teaching Special Educations Needs children in the UK
Kelly spent two months in Thailand working as a Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher. She used her experience of working in SEN to help a variety of children and teachers at a school in Krabi, Thailand. This is what she had to say about the project:
"I would recommend this experience to anyone who is interested in a new challenge and who wants to offer their expertise and knowledge."
The Project Partner
Kelly worked at the Krabi Special Education Centre which was set up by the government to provide education and opportunities for local children with special needs. The children ranged from new born babies to 19 year olds and were split into groups depending on their needs. Kelly worked alongside Miss Jan Yingporn who is the Assistant Director of the centre.
The centre had a lot of experience of working with Special Education Needs (SEN) children. However, they needed a fresh perspective and Kelly was able to provide it. She used her experience of working with SEN in the UK to propose new ideas. Kelly worked alongside Jan and the other staff to create new timetables and methods of teaching. This helped the children at the centre improve their social skills and ensured that Kelly’s work will carry on now that she is back in the UK.
Role of the Volunteer
Kelly's role at the school included the following:
- Working with a group of 4-5 children aged between 4-8 years with a variety of needs including Downs Syndrome, Autism and Global Delay.
- Spending afternoons with a group of six students aged between 13-22 years. This included work on social skills, playing games and encouraging interaction.
- Discussing with staff different methods that can be used to teach SEN children including PECs (Picture Exchange Communication) and visual timetables.
- Introducing a sensory curriculum and music therapy.
Benefits to the community
Kelly’s work in Thailand, along with all of the other staff at the school has provided the following benefits to the local community:
- The children are able to focus for longer periods of time and engage more with each other.
- There is now a visual timetable and a daily routine in order to provide more structure.
- Kelly introduced a TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children) workstation where each child completes three activities independently a day.
- Local teachers have been able to take new ideas and integrate them into their lessons.
“One memory I will always have from my time in Thailand is that of a 5 year old boy who would not eat. He had a fear of food (from being force fed). Each day I took him out the lunch room into a quiet area where I would sit with him at a table and slowly introduce first an empty bowl then a little bit of rice. I did not expect the boy to eat the rice but I wanted him to tolerate it in front of him without the fear of it being pushed into his month. If he sat independently for one minute I rewarded him with a sticker. I used visual clues to indicate what will happen now and later and a timer so he could see how long he had to sit for. On my last day at school the boy ate 5 mouthfuls of food without being prompted or force feed. I was so pleased with the progress he made.”