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Daphnie Peterson EDSE 322 May 17, 2013 Ann Sebald

Cultural Diversity Interview For this project I decided to interview a woman from the school I am currently working at and her home country is India. She grew up in a family with a slightly higher economic scale than most and she was often in trouble for helping the untouchables (A member of the excluded group) while she was a child in India. This woman has a large, kind heart and is always helping others. On her recent trip to India, she packed up several large suitcases with extra items such as clothes, towels and shoes etc. to take back to help those in need, therefore packing very little for herself. This is why I felt she would be the best person in which to interview for this paper. I had decided to allow her to choose which questions she felt most comfortable with answering and I did this out of respect for I didnt want to cross undrawn boundaries. From her answers I learned some insight about how disabilities are viewed and what self-determination and self-advocacy looks like in India.

In her culture help is not something you ask for. So from a disability point of view this would be very difficult not only from the perspective of the individual affected by the disability, but also for the family of that individual. There isnt much emphasis given to those with a disability from the community, is it more of how society sees those with the disability. Often families are viewed differently. Consequently, she said there isnt much of a role those with a disability play within the culture. So if there isnt a role for individuals to play then I asked about expectations they may have instead. Again, the answer was about the same that there are no set expectations. This then came to the question of self-determination and selfadvocacy how this topic is viewed. The decisions for a person with disabilities are mostly left up to the family and expectations are not often set for them. Care for a person with a disability is left up to the parents and members of the family. The opportunity for self-determination and self-advocacy is not often given. Self-determination is a fairly new concept in India and she stated her cultures view on self-determination is getting better. Life for those with a disability living in India is vastly different than it is here in the United States. The school

system in India has no true mainstreaming. And often the schools are segregated or special schools are set up to service those severely affected by a disability. To attend these special schools individuals must sometimes commute long distances. However, for those who live in small towns attendance of these schools is not a possibility. I had asked if her country has any laws pertaining to individuals with disabilities, her reply was that she was unsure of this since she has been away from her country for over 26 years. However, as a child reaches an age where schooling is generally finished, but they have a disability what comes next for them I had asked. The response I was given was that the parents and the family would decide what would be best for them to do. That could be a job where supervision is given by a family member or friend, but generally they are given responsibilities within the family home. By the end of the interview and by writing this paper it not only gave me a chance to learn about another cultures view of disabilities, but I got so much more. I have gained even a bigger place in my heart for this woman. She has overcome so much and finds every opportunity to help those in need. She has been taken care of those with a disability for over 20 years and isnt stopping. She makes differences in peoples lives every

day here in Colorado and when she had the chance to go home to India she still thought of those less privileged before herself. Self-determination and self-advocacy are sensitive areas in all cultures and India is no differetn. Cultural viewpoints of what a disability is and how people affected by such operate within a culture is hugely different. However, there are some commonalities. The most common factor is the role the family plays in the individuals life. This role they play can either help or hinder what life will be like for them as an adult. The main difference is how culture plays into how those decisions are made. This interview helped me see that.