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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 920: XXVIII International Horticultural Congress on Science and Horticulture for People (IHC2010): VI International Symposium on Horticultural Education, Research Training and Consultancy

EVALUATING THE BENEFITS OF HORTICULTURAL VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES AND PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS

Authors:   Yann-Ray Chen, Yung-Wu Chen , Tzu-Han Chen, Jin-Ling Tsai, Jin-Shui Li, Ren-Hau Li
Keywords:   horticultural therapy, mental disability, psychiatric disorder, rating scale
Abstract:
In Taiwan the Rights Protection Act for People with Disabilities stipulates that the Government must provide vocational training for disadvantaged groups. In this study, instructors from three organizations: Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station (TDARES), National Yuanlin Agricultural and Industrial Vocational High School (NYAIVHS), and Ciqin Social Welfare Foundation (CSWF), examined ten people with mental disabilities and four with psychiatric disorders at Ciqin farm, Changhua County. The study lasted approximately one and a half months from 1 November to 14 December 2008 and included 30 hours of horticultural training per week, amounting to 180 hours of training in total. The training program used in the study included horticultural knowledge, plant care, and use of flowers. In the pre-test and the post-test, two social workers and a horticulturalist evaluated the participantsí in the following five areas: (1) community skills/adaptability, (2) vocational skills, (3) ability to deal with authority, (4) self-discipline/organizational skills, and (5) communication skills. They found that in all five areas, the scores in the post-test were significantly higher than those in the pre-test. In addition, qualitative analysis showed that the people with mental disabilities improved in the following seven areas: basic horticultural knowledge, openness, sociability, conscientiousness, artistic sensibility, self-confidence, and sense of achievement. Because of limited data, the post-test scores of the people with psychiatric disorders were not significantly higher than the pre-test scores. Qualitative analysis suggested, however, that these people had improved in the same seven areas as the other participants.
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