Today there is much more discussion about the benefits of inclusion.
However, for true inclusion to be possible and successful, an authentic culture of inclusion already must be in place. This applies to education, the workplace or wider society. In order to achieve such a culture, it is obviously necessary to agree and accept a fundamental understanding and agreement of what constitutes inclusion.
One of the better explanations is from The Society of Human Research Management, which defines inclusion as the achievement of an environment within an organization in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, all have equal access to opportunities and resources and all can contribute fully to the organization’s success. Although that is a workplace definition, its message applies just as well to broader society and to education.
SENIA Thailand is a body of parents, educators and professionals strongly committed to work together in order to open pathways to inclusion for students with learning challenges.
SENIA Thailand’s mission is to advocate for, and to provide resources/supports for, differently abled students. Each year in Bangkok, the group hosts two separate events, a community fair and conference. The conference includes expert speakers and interactive workshops and provides an outstanding opportunity to gain knowledge while also meeting supportive parents, professionals and educators.
Open to everyone, the SENIA Community Fair offers a wide array of activities to engage everyone in a day of fun and sharing. Each year this brings together service providers for differently abled students and gives both parents and children the chance to meet in a more relaxed environment. There are also activities, games and entertainment for children of all ages including arts, crafts and play to ensure the day is truly inclusive and family fun for all those attending.
Local and international organizations take part, recognizing that educational challenges know no boundaries and, in different ways, affect both the local and foreign communities here in Bangkok. Parents of children with learning challenges face many hurdles on the road to achieving true inclusion and sometimes those challenges can seem incredibly daunting and it’s not always clear where you can turn to for extra support.
This year’s fair will also include students from the InvisAbilities team, founded by ISB students in 2018 to help foster the sense of community which is integral to an inclusive environment. Initially, they focused on celebrating the differences within their school before partnering with local organizations such as Steps with Theera and even assisting with the Junior Special Olympics. Going from strength to strength, this inspiring group of students now reaches out to other schools and organizations, offering their experience and support to help set up similar societies to help explain affirm and create a culture of inclusion.
The best way to experience different approaches to inclusion in Bangkok is to attend the fair but an essential treasury of learning support resources provided online by ISB.
Sadly, this year at the time of publication, the community fair has been postponed but we will announce plans for when this will go ahead later in the year.
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