ERIC Number: ED358983
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
The Hmong in Rural Areas: Critical Issues in Special Education.
Iverson, Landa J.; Krabo, Judith J.
This paper discusses differences between the Hmong culture and American culture and resulting implications for provision of special education services. The Hmong population in the Fresno County (California) area has consistently grown since 1977, reaching approximately 26,500 in 1990. The major reason that Hmong refugees settled in agricultural Fresno is that, both in China and later in Laos, agriculture was their mainstay. To insure survival, many of their legends and folklore focus on getting along and surviving within a majority group, while maintaining their independence and identity. The Hmong have cultural values and beliefs strongly rooted in ancestor worship, animism, and group reliance. Young Hmong children are held, carried, and allowed to develop in their own time. In contrast, American children are encouraged early in life to be independent and are expected to develop according to established developmental time tables. Additionally, religion and superstition play a big role in daily Hmong life. Traditional religious values are tied to the clan shaman and trained herbalists. The shaman's practice of medical and psychological diagnosis and treatments that leave marks on the skin can be misconstrued as child abuse. Because of language barriers and the Hmong belief that a child's current functioning is all that a child is capable of being, it is difficult to explain to parents the distinctions between a child's potential to perform and actual performance. This paper suggests that the coordination of a multidisciplinary assessment is critical to the eventual success of Hmong students with special needs. Additionally, the assessment and the individual education plan must consider critical cultural issues. Body marks from traditional healing practices are illustrated. (LP)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A