The Asian American culture can be a very difficult culture to understand and learn their beliefs and customs. This culture is a very spiritual culture that focuses on harmony and balance and a disability can interrupt their balance and that can in turn become the focus instead of the disability. Asian Americans are also very big on respect and respectfully listen to advice and treatment ideas or strategies but might continue with their own treatments. This culture however, does focus on taking care of their sick family members but might struggle with taking care of and asking for help to take care of a family member with a disability.
Asian Americans can look at the disability as an embarrassment and might find it difficult to understand the positives in treatment and services. Care providers and professionals should be aware of any cultural medicine and treatment they may already be using because they could mix medicine between Eastern and Western beliefs. Asian Americans may also refuse new treatments or procedures because of their strong beliefs in tradition.
Parents should try to find out and understand as much information as they can about the disability, situation, services, treatments, etc. The more they understand the better. The more information they know the better. For those of the Asian American culture who might feel uncomfortable or ashamed of having a child with a disability, the more they learn about the specific characteristics and treatment plans available, the more comfortable and less ashamed they may feel. Also, once they understand the information, they can relate that to what they know about their child, so they can blend everything together to appropriately advocate for their child in the school system, with medical treatments, etc.
A person with a disability can self-advocate for himself or herself based on what they already know about themselves. Unlike the parent situation, they hopefully know themselves and what they can do better than anyone. If not, then they need that positive support from their parents and care providers to help teach them and reach their full potential so that they can eventually self-advocate. With this culture, children with disabilities would hopefully receive support from their parents that they can self-advocate, however, respect, especially those superior to them is so important, children, if able, may be afraid or taught it is not appropriate to speak up or stand up for themselves.
I believe extended family, friends of family should treat individuals with disabilities the same way they treat everyone else. The more awkward and any lack of effort they show can only make the family and the individual feel more isolated. If family members learn about the disability and treatments and/or strategies to use with the individual, the more they can understand and relate to the parents and the individual. In the Asian American culture, since a disability can appear to be seen as failure, it is important for other family members to not view the individual or parents in the light, so the parents and individual can better come to terms and understanding with the disability.