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Cultural Barriers to South Indian Families’ Access to Services and Educational Goals for Their Children with Disabilities

Cultural Barriers to South Indian Families’ Access to Services and Educational Goals for Their Children with Disabilities

Maya Kalyanpur, Ph.D., Department of Special Education, Towson University. Email. – mkalyanpur@towson.edu

I.P. Gowramma, Ph.D., All-India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore. Email. – gowriip@yahoo.co.in

June, 2007

Abstract

Using semi-structured interviews and focus groups, a study of twelve parents of preschoolers and young adults with disabilities in India revealed the cultural and social barriers to families’ access to services and their educational goals for their child. Concerns common to both groups included difficulty of accessing information on services in a culture that continues to hold traditional negative perceptions of disability and lacks the infrastructure for dissemination of information. Specific concerns related to setting educational and work-related goals for their child, as the parents of the preschool children identified “learning to speak” and the parents of the young adults “an appropriate job” as primary goals, within the constraints of a multilingual, caste-based society.

 

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Cultural Barriers to South Indian Families’ Access to Services and Educational Goals for Their Children with Disabilities