Attitudes of Mainstream and Special-Education Teachers toward Intellectual Disability in Italy: The Relevance of Being Teachers

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 7;17(19):7325. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17197325.


The attitudes of teachers toward intellectual disability (ID) contribute to an effective school inclusion of students with ID, thereby enhancing their quality of life. The present study was aimed at investigating the attitude differences toward ID of mainstream and special-education teachers in Italy and the general and specific teachers' characteristics most related to these attitudes. An online version of the Attitudes toward Intellectual Disability (ATTID) questionnaire was filled by 307 mainstream teachers and 237 special-education teachers. The findings show that special-education teachers held more positive attitudes. Specific ATTID dimensions were positively affected for both types of teachers by previous training in special education/ID, perceived support, and promotion of positive attitudes toward ID, in addition to the quality of relationships with individuals with ID, while they were positively affected for special-education teachers by perceived efficacy of ID knowledge. No or very limited effects were observed for previous experience in teaching students with typical development or ID (even with severe/profound ID). Fostering resources to provide teachers with high-quality training, support, and resources and strategies to promote positive attitudes toward ID seems a relevant approach leading to favorable attitudes, thereby improving the quality of life of students with ID.

Keywords: ATTID; attitudes toward ID; intellectual disability; mainstream teachers; special-education teachers; support; training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Education, Special
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Italy
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • School Teachers*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult