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  Chinese Way>Life

Beyond massage

2013-10-22 15:50:12

(China Daily) By Luo Wangshu/Ji Jin


"From a young age, we have been categorized and put into special schools. I hope I can mingle with 'mainstream' society, and I believe that I have the ability," he adds.

"In some developed countries, people with disabilities are treated like anyone else," says Zheng. For example, when he took the IELTS, he had received assistance such as special paper and typing software from the British consulate in Chongqing.

Chen Bing, acting area director in Southwest China for the cultural and education section of the British consulate-general, told China Daily that IELTS design is based on the UK's education system that advocates inclusive education. It is a "test shaped by your needs", he says, adding that IELTS has provided a special exam for 140 special-needs candidates since 1989 in China including 26 with visual disability.

While special schools for students with special needs are discouraged, they are the only way for such students in China to get an education.

Students are isolated in a small group instead of interacting with ordinary peers. They may live in a small group at school and then live in a small world forever, says Lu Jun, a Beijing lawyer who is also a visiting researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, specializing in rights for disabled people.

A report by the China Disabled Persons' Federation released in September shows 28 percent of school-aged children with disabilities in China still cannot be enrolled at school, compared with their able-bodied peers, who have a 99.85 percent enrollment rate.

"In the higher education system, students with special needs lack access to institutes. Schools only give exam catering to 'ordinary' students without assisting students with special needs. How can disabled students get in?"

Zheng, as a lucky one, is busy with his new life in Essex. He says he doesn't have a long-term goal for life-instead he copes with it and enjoys it by setting one modest goal after another. The most pressing one is to find the way between his apartment and school. "They are about 1 mile apart," he says.

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