Cultures consist traditions, language, beliefs, and technologies. These key factors differ from region to region, and therefore, it is logical to conclude that cultures also differ from region to region. This divergence in culture also leads to a differing in the structure of educational system around the world. Special Education in particular, is set up vastly different depending on the region one is studying. Treatment of individuals with disabilities depends on the societal values in the region and thus shapes the way Special Education is structured. In three non-like regions, India, Norway, and the United States, the cultural environment shapes the development and implementation of Special Education in various ways. Inclusion as a policy for Special Education is also reflective of the societal values of the regions. Regions that rely more heavily on inclusion typically view individuals with disabilities in a higher regard than those regions that use segregated classrooms. This suggests that the treatment of students with disabilities is a reflection of the social environment in which the educational system was set up.
Special Education and Cultural Influences in India.
In predominantly developing nations, such as India, Special Education is also developing, and therefore has yet to fully meet individuals’ needs. India is a country of poorer overall socioeconomic status and, therefore, fewer students on average are able to attend school due to monetary constraints. Ninety-five percent of students with disabilities do not attend school (Kalyapur, 2008). This is due to the privatization of Special Education opportunities in which the “fees charged make them inaccessible to poorer children” (Kalyapur, 2008). Because India is primarily a rural country where resources are limited and educational opportunities are less available, children are often kept at home to assist in family farms and businesses (Byrd, 2010). Also, individuals with disabilities have a “reduced earning capacity,” which hinders their chances of receiving an education, as the parents would not use resources to put such individuals through the education system (Kalyanpur, 2008). The lower socioeconomic status of the country as a whole contributes to the inability of individuals with disabilities to receive the services needed for their care.
In addition, the identification for individuals with disabilities is very narrow, and thus many students who should qualify for Special Education are excluded from such services. For example, the characterization of individuals with disabilities in India states that only individuals with less than forty percent functionality can be identified (Byrd, 2010). The only categories identified are “blindness, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment, locomotors disability, leprosy, mental retardation, mental illness, and low vision” (Kalyanpur, 2012). This eliminates the identification of students with mild and moderate disabilities that could also...