Rooms at the Changning Special Education Guidance Center

At the CSPEDGC, we visited some classrooms (there were no classes in session) and saw materials.

These photos show the Special Education Resource Room. As stated in the previous post, we were told that 24 of the 500 students in the school receive Special Education. The Center identifies students who qualify for special education through assessment. We were told that the assessments include cognitive and psychological testing. Students have individualized education plans, although we did not hear the specifics of or processes for developing these plans.

Students with disabilities may receive five different types of additional supports, including cognitive, psychological, speech and language, and occupational therapy.

In the resource room, both a special education and a general education teacher work together with students at all times. We were told that the students visit the resource room on a rotating basis, maybe 1-2 hours a day. They may work on additional skills and capacities that may supplement their eduction and they may work on their general education homework. I asked the Special Ed resource room teacher if she had concerns about the time that Special Ed students miss from the general education class and she answered yes. We share these same concerns in American settings for students who receive what we call “pull-out” services.

Origami (made by the students) on the tables in the resource room

The binders in the resource room document requirements for special education teachers. I could not read the contents, but we were told that these were standards for performance and documentation of activities completed by the teachers.

Teacher binders in the resource room

Changning Special Education Guidance Center

The Changning Special Education Guidance Center sits in the district of Changning (with a population of more than 600,000) in Shanghai and serves as the resource center for special education and inclusion in this region. We visited the Guidance Center and saw the structure, some students outside exercising, and listened to a series of presentations that described the history of special education and the current efforts in special education at the kindergarten, primary (grades 1-6), and secondary levels (grades 7-9).

The Changning Special Education Guidance Center, standing just inside the front gates and looking up the main drive to the building


The playing fields of the Center and secondary students exercising

The Director of the Changning Special Education Guidance Center described for us the history of special education in China. He said that John Fryer first introduced special education in China in 1912, and that the first vocational school was established in 1926. The history of inclusion, though, spans a more recent period, with inclusion at the primary level beginning only in 1994 and at the secondary level in 2006. The Director described that inclusion means learning for children with disabilities that takes place in the regular education classroom.

The Changning Center is a brand new building constructed in the last year. This large structure with 4 floors sits on expertly manicured grounds, including a parking lot and large playing fields. In the photos, you can see the multitudes of residential buildings surrounding the Center. Approximately 500 students attend this Center and 24 have special needs. Internally, the structure feels spacious, with tall ceilings, wide hallways, and many windows that bring in natural light through the classrooms and again into the hallways.

The grounds of the Center with residential buildings in the background

Classrooms of the Lan Xi Road School: Special Needs

The school had both inclusive and a substantially separate classroom. We observed children with and without special needs in the inclusive classrooms. In all three inclusive classrooms, we observed children with disabilities engaging in the activities alongside the students without disabilities. Then, children with special needs shifted into their own separate classroom. We observed over an hour in the inclusive classrooms, but were only able to see a couple of minutes in the special needs classroom before the school went out to recess.

The following photographs show children with and without special needs in the inclusive classrooms.

Playing with puzzles in the inclusive classroom


We also observed a few short minutes after children with special needs left the inclusive settings and went to their separate classroom. We saw some children sitting in chairs in this classroom before they readied to go outside for play. We also observed conflict between three students and two teachers stepped in to facilitate the negotiation of this conflict.

As you view the photographs and see the activities across the Lang Xi Road posts, please reflect on the children with special needs. Do you feel they have access to the curriculum? What benefits may be gained in the inclusive settings and in the substantially separate classroom? Please also reflect on the curriculum. Based on what you see in the photograph, what do you think are the primary goals in the curriculum?

Inclusive Classroom for Youngest Children

In the youngest classroom, children engaged in both individual/parallel activities, as well as role play activities in small groups.

In these two images, Director Sha shows a symbolic counting system for the youngest children. When children participate in activities, they can draw a circle in their own personal record book (each record book has the child’s photograph on the front). The circles are counted and small rewards are given for participation.