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Perspectives of Parents of Children with Autism or Intellectual Disability on Inclusive Education in Urban China


The dissertation study is focused on an investigation of the attitudes on inclusive education and the Chinese approximation of it—the “Learning in Regular Classrooms” (LRC) by parents of children having autism or intellectual disability in urban China, as well as their perceptions of their children in terms of their disabilities, in reference to their typical peers. 16 qualitative interviews were conducted on parents of pre-school and school-aged children with autism and Down’s syndrome, from two metropolitan cities, Beijing and Chengdu in China. It was found that although most of the parents possessed concrete understanding of inclusive education, the poor implementation of LRC, as well as the unsupportive climate on disability in the outer society constantly made them feel the huge gap in practice. However, they unanimously expressed their determination to have their children mainstream in LRC, in comparison to the special educational schools, based on their ultimate goal for their children to enjoy an independent and honorable life in the future. In support of the aim at securing the LRC placement, the parents also listed a number of mental and pragmatic strategies to tackle the challenges the LRC placement could confront them with, especially the severe stigmatization brought about by being disabled in China, from the school administrators, typical peers, teachers, and others.

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