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Disability, Culture, and DevelopmentA Case Study of Japanese Children at School$
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Misa Kayama and Wendy Haight

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199970827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199970827.001.0001

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Research Program

Research Program

(p.19) 2 Research Program
Disability, Culture, and Development

Misa Kayama

Wendy Haight

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses some methodological implications of a sociocultural developmental perspective of children’s disabilities, the implementation of the ethnographic research, and the first author’s reflections on her experiences collecting data on a culturally-sensitive topic. This chapter begins with a cultural analysis of Japanese policies relevant to the design and implementation of formal special education services for children with developmental disabilities. Then, the chapter describes the field research, conducted in 2009-2010. The first author conducted participant observation as a teaching assistant for children with developmental disabilities. Educators and parents participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews focusing on their socialization and educational beliefs and practices in relation to the new special education system. In-depth longitudinal study was conducted over two school years with three children as they transitioned into special education.

Keywords:   ethnographic research, participant observation, culturally-sensitive approach, semi-structured individual interviews, researcher’s reflection on field work, disability study, reactive method of field entry, Japanese education

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