Young children's attitudes toward peers with intellectual disabilities: effect of the type of school

J Appl Res Intellect Disabil. 2012 Nov;25(6):531-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3148.2012.00699.x. Epub 2012 Sep 13.


Background: This study explored typically developing children's attitudes towards peers with intellectual disabilities, with special reference to the type of school they attended.

Materials and methods: Two hundred and fifty-six Greek children aged 9-10 (135 in inclusive settings) completed a questionnaire and an adjective list by Gash (European Journal of Special Needs Education 1993; 8, 106) and drew a child with intellectual disabilities, commenting also on their drawings.

Results: Typically developing children expressed overall neutral attitudes towards peers with intellectual disabilities. Type of school differentiated their attitudes, with children from inclusive settings being more positive towards peers with intellectual disabilities and choosing less negative adjectives to describe them than children from non-inclusive settings. Girls and students who expressed more positive social, emotional and overall attitudes towards students with intellectual disabilities chose more positive adjectives to describe a child with intellectual disabilities. It was also found that children from inclusive settings drew children with intellectual disabilities as more similar to a child with Down syndrome in comparison with children from non-inclusive settings.

Conclusions: Effective inclusive practices should be promoted to foster social acceptance of students with intellectual disabilities.

MeSH terms

  • Art
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology*
  • Male
  • Peer Group*
  • Psychology, Child
  • Schools*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terminology as Topic