With modern telecommunications and computer technology, the world is becoming “one big village.” This window to the world allows anyone to know, in real time, what is happening in the homes of others. The present book provides us with another world window, which looks specifically at the policies and programs for people with disabilities. Chapters in the present book come under the umbrella title of “cross-cultural” studies, including diverse reports concerning ethnic diversity, racial differences, and comparisons between nations and between continents. The term “culture,” which we used in the present book, is the definition suggested by Pitman, Eisikovits, and Dobbert (1989), which is that junior members of a society learn whole patterns of behavior within the contexts of everyday life and in personal action. They individualize and adapt these patterns by varying some of the elements and recreating new ones. This definition assumes a holistic interactive view of culture. The assumption is that there are universal and biological substrata shared by all human beings and that differences between groups are not human ultimate potentials or competencies, but rather are structures and processes that make up the specific patterns of interaction typical of each culture. Cross-cultural studies in special education and rehabilitation tackle such questions as:

1. What are the different meanings attached to disability? 2. Do different countries face similar issues regarding services for

persons with disabilities? 3. Are there similarities and differences in the meanings of policies

regarding the disabled? Are any of these meanings based on attitudes that affect the implementation of policies and services?