Educational Services for Tibetan Students with Disabilities in India: A Case Study

Britany Anne Barnes, Brigham Young University


This case study describes services for students with disabilities at Karuna Home in Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India. Karuna Home is a residential rehabilitation center for students with cognitive or physical disabilities whose parents are Tibetan refugees. The study triangulated data from interviews, observations, and school documents to describe educational policies and procedures, and cultural attitudes toward disability. Results show that the Karuna Home program is undergirded by Buddhist thought and theology regarding care and concern for those in difficult circumstances. The school serves students with a range of mild to severe disabilities and is fully staffed, but teachers and other service providers generally lack training in assessment, curriculum, and instruction for students with disabilities. The most pressing needs were administrators' and teachers' lack of understanding about how to create data-based learning and behavioral objectives to meet students' individual needs, and how to monitor student progress.