Through exploration of the critical frameworks of practitioner inquiry along with the tools of self-study, reflective inquiry, and dialogic journaling, this paper investigates new possibilities and models for practitioners who work with Korean-Canadian immigrants who have a child with autism as they deal with acculturation and attempting to gain support while juggling two cultures. This study gathers and analyzes qualitative data on the perceptions of autism, culture, and personhood from parents of children with autism and from colleagues delivering services to children with autism. Specifically it looks at the pressing need for continuing to expand autism research and how this research specifically intersects Korean-Canadian families. Increasingly over time, researchers have argued that it is preconceived notions of “personhood” which lead to the declaration that autistic behaviour is “abnormal”. This research asks what presuppositions exist about “typical” versus “atypical” identities, then asks how educational practices can better support children with autism in realizing and expressing their personhood? And, how do cultural and other discourses- affecting educational practices and affecting children and their families- impact these efforts? This research seeks to answer these questions by exploring notions of how personhood and identity for students with autism is conceptualized within the education system, as intersecting with specific cultural discourses of families and practitioners. The study concludes that it is critical to enhance practitioners’ ability to take multiple perspectives, recognize the significance of student, family and colleague epistemology, and acknowledge the importance of culturally relevant methodology to meet the needs of diverse students.
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