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Fulton, "Chinese disability policies and teacher attitudes toward integrated education," 1998

USC dissertation in Education.
August 24, 2009

Brent Stephen Fulton, Ph.D

Abstract (Summary)

Analysis of policies toward persons with disabilities in the People's Republic of China and Taiwan revealed the effects of competing perspectives on disability upon the policy formation and implementation process. Government attention in Taiwan to the potential economic impact of greater integration of persons with disabilities into mainstream society has resulted in policies tending toward segregation, despite official pronouncements to the contrary and despite demands of members of the disability community and the general public for greater integration. In the PRC, however, the role of Deng Pufang, son of reform leader Deng Xiaoping, as the official spokesman for persons with disabilities has resulted in government policies emphasizing the rights of persons with disabilities to be integrated into society. Given the elder Deng's passing, it is questionable whether Deng Pufang's gains on behalf of persons with disabilities may be sustained or whether the socio-political perspective on disability which he championed will give way to the traditional biomedical perspective or, given China's national development goals, to an economic perspective.

Attitudes toward policy implementation at the popular level were found to be related indirectly to the dominant perspective on disability taken at the policy-making level. Attitudes toward integrated education held by students preparing to be elementary teachers in Beijing and Taipei were found to be related not as much to familiarity with current policies as to their degree of exposure to persons with disabilities both personally and through the media and to their perceptions of such persons. Thus it may be concluded that policies which promote social integration of persons with disabilities are likely to effect a positive change in attitudes toward such persons, resulting in a greater willingness among persons without disabilities to accept their integration and to make resources available to them.

Advisor: Rosen, Stanley