Professionals must work with families to understand cultural and linguistic characteristics specific to each child. This is critical in determining whether a child’s experiences are typical of someone coming from a different background as opposed to a true disability. These issues can be complex as exceptionalities are seen across cultures as well.
Cultural Differences: Kayin’s Case
Review the following scenario:
Kayin is an eight-year-old boy in the third grade. His teacher, Mr. Bledsoe, has been very concerned about his problems with reading. He also has difficulty socially, and seems withdrawn, with few, if any, friends. Kayin avoids eye contact with most people, but this is more pronounced with adults. He also becomes very frustrated at times, crying and ripping up his work.
Kayin has been enrolled in the same school since kindergarten. However, Mr. Bledsoe knows that his family is originally from Nigeria and they return every summer to visit family. Although Kayin’s parents speak English fairly fluently, they have a pronounced African accent. Mr. Bledsoe remembers learning that it is an act of respect to avoid eye contact with adults in some cultures, but he cannot remember whether this is true of Nigerian culture.
Mr. Bledsoe has been hesitant to raise the possibility of a disability because he does not know how much of Kayin’s struggles can be attributed to growing up in a bicultural and bilingual home or to Kayin’s own personality.
Using the module readings, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet, research cultural differences related to children with exceptionalities. It may also be useful to consult CultureGrams in the online library for more information on cultures in Nigeria.
Reflect on your readings and respond to the following:
- What steps should Mr. Bledsoe take to address Kayin’s challenges?
- What professionals might he include to help Kayin?
- What further information does Mr. Bledsoe and his colleagues need to best help Kayin? Where can he find this information?
- How should Mr. Bledsoe approach the issue of cultural differences with Kayin’s parents?
- What ethical dilemma(s) might Mr. Bledsoe face when considering the values, beliefs, and behaviors common in the culture of Kayin’s family within the context of the general American culture?
Write your initial response in 300–500 words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.