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Mai-Feng Tsuang, Department of Special Education
Nancy Neef, Faculty advisor
Mai-Feng Tsuang is a professor in the Department of Special Education at the National University of Tainan in Taiwan. She received her Ph.D in special education from the University of Virginia in 1992. During the past 20 years, her research has focused on education for children with severe handicaps. She will be using her sabbatical year to do research on the restructuring of special schools in Taiwan, and augmentative and alternative communication for persons with severe handicaps. She is currently a visiting scholar in the Section of Special Education, School of Physical Activity and Educational Services at OSU.
Special education has been generally conducted in schools and institutions established exclusively for individuals with severe handicaps. However, after 20 years of deinstitutionalization, special education has become an integral part of the educational system in Taiwan. Students with special needs are now receiving education either in regular classes or have been placed in special classes of regular schools. Special education schools and institutions are now generally facing the possibility of downsizing due to increasing difficulties in recruiting. They have urgent needs for functional changes or restructuring. The purposes of my current study is to understand the current status of special schools in Taiwan, to examine the problems they are undertaking, to evaluate the needs for functional changes, and to explore the approaches for such changes.
Questionnaire surveys have been conducted, supplemented by interviews and panel discussions. Survey subjects included special education specialists, administrators of special education, teachers of both regular classes and special classes, and parents of students with special needs. Layered sampling method was used, with a sample size of 347 from 21 counties. Collected data were analyzed by using both quantitative and qualitative methods to address the mentioned objectives.
Major findings of my current research are: