The Caregivers Support Group
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Chiang Mai has very little in the way of mutual support groups for parents and caregivers of children with developmental, intellectual and learning disabilities. In collaboration with the township government of Sansai Luang, we have established a support group in which parents, grandparents and others who provide care to such children can meet regularly, discuss their mutual problems and successes, and benefit from consultation by experts. Currently, we have about 30 local families enrolled in this programme. The group is chaired by the grandparents of 2 handicapped children (cerebral palsy and attention deficit disorder).
Together with the local government, which has now taken a leading role, we support the following activities:
- Provision of a venue for guided discussions of problems and solutions, special development activities (e.g., professional evaluation of the children, training of parents in sensory relations)
- Support for outings for the children and their caregivers to nearby sites of interest. Outings so far have including a visit to a botanical garden, a mineral hot spring, the Chiang Mai Zoo and a temple preparing for Buddhist Lent. The Dulabhatorn minibus is useful in these trips and our Kla Son university scholars are enthusiastic volunteers and much appreciated in assisting the caregivers with these outings.
- Organization of training sessions for the caregivers, in collaboration with the Thai Red Cross in Chiang Mai, in such subjects as home health care, hygiene and physical exercise and rehabilitation.
- In several instances we also assist with transport costs so that the children can study in special schools.
- We are very proud that the Support Group has been successful in fostering leadership from within the group itself. Now the group operates through a partnership between the Foundation, the local government and the caregivers.
- We have successfully integrated our Kla Son students into this program. They volunteer to help with the outings, participate in meetings, and have become friends with the children. They also genuinely enjoy their time with the children.