A cross-cultural examination of typically developing children's attitudes toward individuals with special needs
This study explores children's attitudes toward individuals with special needs in Greece and in the United States. A total of 196 kindergarten-age children participated in the study. Children's attitudes were examined using the Acceptance Scale for Kindergartners-Revised (ASK-R) and were further explored with the use of an open-ended interview. In addition, the Inventory of Disability Representation (IDR) was used to collect information about how individuals with special needs are represented in school and classroom environments through books, displays, materials and curriculum. The results indicated that children in Greece and the United States were accepting of individuals with special needs. Also, children attending inclusive kindergartens held more positive attitudes when compared with children attending non-inclusive kindergartens. Results from the interviews provided further information that contributes to the understanding of children's perceptions of people with special needs and the reasons why children become more or less favourably disposed towards individuals with special needs. Finally, IDR results indicated that the classrooms in Greece had low representations of individuals with special needs compared with US classrooms, which had moderate and high representations of individuals with disabilities in the classroom and school environments. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.