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Development Disability

In: Social Issues

Submitted By bmorrow5
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Disability Project: Asian Culture Paper
Culture strongly impacts people’s understanding of disabilities and the usage of outside support. In the Asian culture, having a disability is often seen as taboo. Taboo is defined as a custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing. According to the Asian culture, having a disability automatically labels you as an outcast and a worthless citizen (Tsao, 2000). In many Asian countries, if you are disabled, you are thought to be incapable of learning and not seen as a member of society. Some Asians tend to attribute the cause of a child’s disability to supernatural influences or sins committed by the child’s ancestors.
Parents of children with disabilities often try to shelter them from the outside world (Tsao, 2000). Asian parents with children, who have disabilities, often experience great shame and feelings of obligation toward the child. Because it is believed that it is the mothers fault, she often bears the blame for her child’s disability. Most mothers of children with disabilities assume the majority of caring duties for the child especially in the public settings. Some fathers deny or ignore the child with disability and frequently do not participate in caring for their disabled children. Asian parents are stereotypically very hard on their children when it comes to their academic performance; their grades are seen as a reflection of the family. When it comes to the academic performance of children with disabilities, the importance of academic success is not stressed as much or not stressed at all (Tsao, 2000).
Children with disabilities who are from Asian families usually fall through the cracks in regards to their academics and assessments (Doan, 2006). The current assessment system that is in place needs to be revised. Often the parents of children with disabilities are not proficient in English and because they lack these language skills, they may be unable to properly communicate any problems or concerns. Schools need to become more aware of cultural differences that many Asian families have. In the child’s IEP/IFSP, language and cultural barriers need to be addressed (Doan, 2006). It is important to make sure that cultural differences are respected during the assessment.
In the Asian culture, parents take responsibility for their child’s success. Because Asian families like to keep to themselves, children with disabilities are often cared for within the family. Having someone from the outside giving their opinion might not be welcomed with open arms (Huang, 1993). It is important for teachers and other child care workers to understand that this does not mean that they do not care for their child; it just means that they handle things on their own and within the family. The family’s willingness to participate in EI/ECSE is strongly contributed to what Asian country they were raised in and how open or close minded the family is to outside assistance (Huang, 1993). Some families may accept the help or recommendations with open arms, while others reject it.
In order for a service coordinator and team to assess an Asian child for an IFSP or IEP, it is important for them to respect their culture. Asian children’s parents view teachers or persons that take on the teacher role as authoritative figures. All people who take on the role of educator in the life of a child with a disability, the parent s will hold them responsible for how and what their child will learn (Doan, 2006). In the Asian community, avoiding eye contact is very important. By doing so, you are showing respect to the families and their culture. Making sure the family understands what is recommended from the child is important as well. Head nodding is a sign of respect; it does not necessarily mean that they understand what is being said. Having a solid plan of action ready to present to the parents will also help gain their trust. When communicating with the family, learning a few words in the language/dialect that they speak will be helpful. Learning about the etiquette of conversation within the culture will help ensure that no one feels disrespected (Doan, 2006). It might be helpful to recommend support groups to help the families of children with disabilities cope with the constant changes and demands of life. Rather than having the children and their families come to you for a meeting, consider doing a home visit. It will make the family feel more comfortable and it will give the coordinator a view of how the family operates at home as well as a look into their culture.
In conclusion, service providers need to become more educated about the degrees of cultural modifications experienced by Asian families as well as acceptance of the differences of cultural expectations. Parents’ perception to their child’s disability and interventions needs to become an important component of teacher training and child care worker programs. Additionally, teachers and counselors need to be aware of Asian parents’ cultural views in order to communicate effectively with parents (Doan, 2006). Specific programs need to be personalized to meet the unique needs of Asian families of children who have disabilities.

Doan, K. (2006). A sociocultural perspective on at-risk Asian-American students. Teacher Education and Special Education, 29, 157-167. Retrieved from
Huang, Gary (1993). Beyond culture: Communicating with Asian Pacific Islander American Children and Families. Retrieved from
Tsao, G. (2000). Growing up Asian American with a Disability. Colorado: STANDARDS.

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