SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES, AND ARTS, Vol 8, No 1 (2008)

The Proper Welfare for Severely Disabled Persons in Thailand

Narin Sungrugsa, Songsri Soranasthaporn, Ratana Watanapath, Natapong Chanyoeu

Department of Foundation of Education, Faculty of Education, Silpakorn University, Nakhon Pathom, 73000

Faculty of Arts, Mahidol University, Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, 73170

Faculty of Arts, Mahidol University, Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, 73170

Faculty of Arts, Mahodol University, Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, 73170


Abstract


This research was aimed to study the proper criteria to measure the levels of severe disabilities and forecast the numbers of severe disabled persons in the present and future trends. Besides it investigated the proper social welfare services and their estimated budgets per head. By using of quantitative and qualitative approaches, in-depth interview mixed with focus group discussion and structured questionnaire were employed to collect the data. In this study administrators, academicians, twenty five representatives of each of the five disabled groups from four regions and Bangkok and the officers who perform the welfare services for them as the studied groups were purposively selected. The amounts were accounted to 239 persons.
From the research it was revealed that even though there had both of the social and medical criteria employed to measure the levels of severe disabilities, the first was facing with some problems and obscures of its social standards and acceptances. In contrast to the former, the medical measure was mainly approved and endorsed by Ministry of Public Health. The problems of persons with severe disabilities were differentiated according to its social and cultural contexts and classifications. To consider the welfare services, it was found that they wanted the monthly sustenance allowance ranged from 1,200-8,000 Bath/head or its average was 3,549.45 Bath/head. For the reasons, they still requested more of the non-monetary services such as health services, special educational services, job placement services and recreational services in addition to social security and acceptances.
The numbers of mild disabled persons decreased, but the rate of severe cases was increasing among Thai population. Moreover, the number of disabled persons such as physical disabilities or difficult mobilizations, and those who have mental or behavioral disabilities also increased. These were associated with the changes of social, economic, and epidemiological transitions from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases; it is also called non-infectious or social disease. It was estimated that the numbers of severe disabled persons in the next 10 years will be 257,622 persons.
Three models of social welfare services were proposed in this study: (a) the institutional welfare model provided by government sectors, (b) the double welfare model collaborated by two alliances (government sectors and private sectors), and (c) the multiple sectors welfare model by integrated and collaborating multidisciplinary and multi-sectors. Therefore, a multidisciplinary team is more important than a specialist. Also, social workers are essential. Social welfare services provided for severe disabled persons need to establish participation and collaboration. Partnership among families, communities, and networks (friends help friends) is very crucial. Similarly, both central and local governments must support and promote policy, administration, and management more efficiently than before.
The last one was provided in forms of informal care, day care model, and arrangements of community welfare services. Thai social welfare services should be implemented on the mixed models based on self-managed community welfare services for severe disabled persons.
For recommendations, the government should improve or modify the standardized criteria to diagnose and assess the levels of severity among the disabled persons. It should employ or integrate both the medical criteria and the social criteria to support the increasing trends of persons with severe disabilities.
The government should develop the quality of life for the disabilities on various dimensions and sustainability. The protection system of long-term social welfare for disabled persons should be recognized and settled up, and the services should be expanded and allocated to cover all in responding to regions i.e. central, regional, and local areas. In responding to the basic requirements of the severe disabled persons, the government should prepare all needed resources and protection to the increasing trend. The data base system of severe disabled persons should be established first.

Furthermore, the basic services should be arranged in forms of the new improved sustenance allowance and the proper occupational promotions for generating their sustainable incomes. Their occupations should be modified based on the classifications and levels of their disabilities. The government should support and endorse the welfare service funds for the disabled persons and their family especially those severe cases and poor families.

The government should state clear measures to strengthen the mechanisms of family and community to carry out many activities to take care the severe disabled persons especially for the persons who are fully impairments or cannot help themselves completely. For example, the children should be risen up their values and concerns toward the importance of living together between them and severe disabled persons in a community. The rehabilitation service centers should be improved. Significantly, the service system should be developed according to the concept of Community-based Rehabilitation Program.

Finally, the collaborating center such as the National Disability Council must be established. The Council will take responsibilities for protections of human rights, especially the welfare services for severe disabled persons. The Council must seek for and serve to collaboration among alliances from many different disabilities-related civic groups, non-profitable organizations, and government organizations. The council should acts as the Center of National Labor Institute for Severe Disabled Persons.

Key Words: Proper Welfare, Severely Disabled Persons or Persons with Severe Disabilities

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