In the last 7 years Bangkok’s available services for kids with special challenges has improved dramatically. In addition to available medical practitioners, professionals and services now available include: Educational and Clinical Psychologists; Speech and Language Therapists; Occupational Therapists; Early Intervention Specialists; Play Therapists; Art Therapists; Music Therapists; Adolescent and Family Counselors; ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) Specialists; Dietitians; Neurofeedback; Orton-Gillingham programs for Dyslexia; ESDM Program for Autistic Children; and Social Skills Groups. Specifics on practitioners and services are located, with efforts to keep up to date annually on Wikispaces. Service providers and school learning support staff can at times undergo changes at the end of a school year with more changes some years than others.
In addition, parent support and resource groups such as LEAP and Rainbow Room provide parents with support, education and links to other parents and programs. LEAP’s mentoring program provides a link for parents to consult other parents and works for both parents already in Bangkok as well as those abroad considering a move to Bangkok. A support/information group for parents of children deemed to be exceptional learners is Bangkok Parents of Exceptional Learners (BKKPEL) and they have an active Facebook page.
Significant expansion has also been seen in the learning support and counselor departments of the larger international schools plus the further acceptance of shadow teachers as a valuable accommodation to keeping some appropriate children in mainstream classes. Progressive international schools are now beginning to utilise private practitioners to work with their staff to better understand and help kids with special challenges.
Five years ago one could be tempted to discourage a family with a special needs child from moving to BKK or having a diagnostic assessment done here but that is much less the case now as the number and quality of professionals, services and school support continues to increase and diversify.
English language specialist services for kids with special needs outside of Bangkok are still extremely limited.