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    Disability, Culture, and Development: A Case Study of Japanese Children at School

    By: Misa Kayama

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    This book examines Japanese cultural beliefs about disability and related socialization practices as they impact the experiences of elementary school-aged children. Physical and mental conditions which impair childrens functioning are universal issues impacting child welfare and educational systems around the world. While the American approach is well understood and represented in the literature, cultures differ in which physical and mental conditions are considered disabling. Currently, the Japanese educational system is in transition as public schools implement formal special education services for children with developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities is a new term used by Japanese educators to categorize a variety of relatively minor social and cognitive conditions caused by neurologically based deficits: learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD, and Aspergers Syndrome. Children who were once considered difficult or slow learners are now considered to be disabled and in need of special services. This transition created an excellent opportunity to explore Japanese beliefs about disability that might otherwise have remained unexamined by participants, and how these evolving beliefs and new socialization and educational practices impact childrens experiences.

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