Perspectives of disabled students on their experiences with disability support services in higher education in Thailand
Date: 25 April 2017
University of Exeter
EdD in Special Needs and Inclusive Education
The increased number of disabled students in Higher Education (HE) means that they have increased opportunities for study. This means that universities in many countries, including Thailand, must provide Disability Support Services (DSS) for such students. The experiences of disabled students with DSS have been the subject of ...
The increased number of disabled students in Higher Education (HE) means that they have increased opportunities for study. This means that universities in many countries, including Thailand, must provide Disability Support Services (DSS) for such students. The experiences of disabled students with DSS have been the subject of international research for many years. Although DSS were founded in universities in Thailand over a decade ago, there is little research on DSS and most of this research has focused on large universities in the capital city. This thesis, therefore, seeks to address this gap in the research by investigating the experiences of disabled students in 21 universities in all of the regions of Thailand that have DSS for disabled students attending university. The aim of this study is to explore and analyse the perspectives of disabled students on their experiences with DSS in HE in Thailand. The research objectives include the examination of disabled students’ conceptualisations of DSS, the exploration of disabled students’ experiences of access to DSS, and the exploration of their views on the advantages and disadvantages of DSS. To achieve these objectives, the study uses a mixed-method research approach formed of two stages. In the first stage, a questionnaire was conducted online via a web survey for disabled students with over 203 responses. In the second stage, the study adopted a qualitative approach and data was collected by means of individual in-depth interviews with four disabled students. The research finds that disabled students know about DSS in HE. Some disabled students were familiar with DSS before commencing their studies at university and others only knew about DSS after having commenced their studies at university. In terms of disabled students’ experiences of access to DSS, the findings show that most disabled students use DSS. In particular, they use DSS for help with induction, registration, and enrolment services. In terms of the exploration of disabled students’ experiences of access to DSS, this research shows that the 2 students undertook different procedures for accessing DSS. There are also different time lines for providing services to the students. Additionally, there is dissimilarity between non-open universities and open universities in terms of the services provided by the DSS centre, the learning system, the method of providing services, and the means of the implementation of the services. Regarding the advantages and disadvantages of using DSS, disabled students identified the advantages of DSS in various ways, specifically which DSS are useful for helping them access financial support from their university and for helping them learn and enjoy university life. In addition, some of the students did not experience the advantages of DSS as they did not use the services. They are able to learn without such assistance.
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