Cultural Reciprocity in Special Education: Building Family-Professional Relationships

Authors: Maya Kalyanpur Ph.D., Beth Harry

Format: Paperback, 216 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781598572315
Price: $36.95

Add to cart


To succeed in increasingly diverse classrooms, tomorrow's special educators need explicit training on working effectively with all families. Prepare the next generation of teachers with this accessible text, developed by two highly respected experts on cultural and linguistic diversity and inclusive education.

Ideal for use as a supplementary textbook in a wide range of courses related to special education, this book gives educators a practical framework for cultural reciprocity—a process that helps professionals and families examine their own values, respect each other's differences, and collaborate skillfully to benefit children.

Educators will learn how to
  • strengthen awareness of their own cultural identities and roles
  • explore how their values and beliefs might affect interactions with families
  • sidestep stereotypes by treating each family and situation as unique
  • ensure successful IEP meetings through effective cross-cultural communication
  • avoid "right versus wrong" assumptions about parenting styles and practices
  • understand how diverse families might view key special education goals—independence, individuality, and work
  • combine ideas from different value systems to arrive at solutions that work for everyone
  • challenge the ways in which mainstream culture shapes special education policies and practices

The authors draw on their own experiences and research to describe applications of cultural reciprocity, including reader-friendly textboxes and memorable personal anecdotes.

To give special educators a deeper, more nuanced understanding of cultural reciprocity, the text also includes three chapter-long case studies that further illustrate the process at work. Readers will learn from the challenges and successes of an African American researcher working with a group of teenage mothers; two teacher educators collaborating on the Special Educators Entering a Diverse Society (SEEDS) project; and an Asian Indian teacher educator leading a class of mostly Caucasian students.

A key text for future special educators—and a valuable resource for inservice training—this book will help teachers build strong collaborative relationships with diverse families and ensure that all children receive the best possible education.


Review by: Ann Turnbull, University of Kansas
“Maya and Beth offer readers a profound reciprocal process for moving from cultural knowledge to cultural wisdom. I encourage you to join me in partaking in their guided transformation.”
Review by: Deborah Chen, California State University, Northridge
“A unique and compelling textbook . . . facilitate[s] a deep understanding of the intricate connections between our upbringing, roles, experiences, and worldviews and most importantly, those of the families we serve.”

Table of Contents

About the Authors
About the Contributors

I. Cultural Reciprocity in Working with Families
  1. Cultural Underpinnings of Special Education

  2. Cultural Reciprocity as an Approach Towards Building ParentProfessional Relationships

  3. Legal and Epistemological Underpinnings of the Construction of Disability

  4. The Role of Professional Expertise and Language in the Treatment of Disability

  5. Professionals' Perspectives on Parenting Styles

  6. Goal Setting for Students: Parents' versus Professionals' Expectations
II. Cultural Reciprocity: Applications and Variations
  1. Cultural Reciprocity as a Transformative Journey in Research and Practice
    Davenia Lea

  2. Stories of Transformation: The Power of Exploring Cultural Dilemmas
    Eva Thorp & Monimalika Day

  3. The Pre-Service Classroom as an Intercultural Space for Experiencing a Process of Cultural Reciprocity
    Shernaz B. Garcia

Account sign-in

Create an account

Forgot password?

International customers

If you are shipping outside of the U.S., please send an email with the total order and shipping address to before checking out. We will calculate your shipping cost, and you will complete your checkout using international postage units. Thank you!