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Self-concept, Disability Awareness and Perceived Stigma of Vocational Students with Intellectual Disability in a Special School
This study aims at investigating the self-concept, awareness of disabled situation and disability-related labels, perceived stigma and coping strategies of 8 vocational students with intellectual disability (ID) in a special school in northern Taiwan. The study was designed with qualitative research, conducting semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, participant observation and document analysis of the participants, and phone interviews of their parents or primary caregivers. The major findings of this study are as follows: 1)Most participants hold positive perceptions of themselves, which have been deeply influenced by their peers with disabilities, and keep a normal identity to a certain extent. 2)The participants tend to perceive disabilities as negative personal traits, and have limited awareness of their disabled situation; as for the attitudes towards disability-related labels, the participants evaluate labels less revealing their defects more positively, while ‘learning difficulties’ and ‘special students’ are the two most accepted terms. 3)The participants experience stigma mainly by being verbally or physically bullied from others, and the strategies they adopt to cope with stigma include: enduring discrimination, avoiding people likely to discriminate against them, and hiding the facts that they attend a special school or receive a disability identification card. At last, according to the findings and conclusions, practical suggestions are proposed for workers providing service for people with ID, parents of people with ID and all other members of society.
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