Children's acceptance of others with disability: The influence of a disability-simulation program

Academic Article


  • Elementary school is a transitional and impressionable period for any child. In inclusive classroom settings, children with disabilities may experience the challenges of acceptance and integration into peer relationships. The experience of children with disabilities in such classrooms can be positive if their classmates are accepting and open. One way to encourage these attitudes is by increasing awareness through disability-simulation. This study evaluates an existing school program, whose goal is to increase acceptance of others with disability. We surveyed students to assess the influence of the program. An adapted acceptance scale was distributed to students before and after participation in the program. Our hypothesis was that student acceptance would increase after participating in the program. Additionally, we hypothesized that physical, visual, and auditory disabilities would be easier for students to understand, making acceptance scores for these disabilities higher than those for a learning disability. We report changes in acceptance using group means. Our results reveal that post-survey responses showed higher acceptance than pre-survey responses, especially for auditory disabilities. Other significant findings include differences in attitudes between the two schools and differences based on prior experience with someone with a disability. By evaluating the effectiveness of this type of program (whose efficacy has been controversial in the literature), this study can provide teachers, administrators, genetic counselors, and parents with a better idea of how to address children's attitudes towards peers. In our study, the effectiveness of promoting understanding through disability-simulation has proven its worth to improve children's acceptance. © 2012 National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hurst C; Corning K; Ferrante R
  • Start Page

  • 873
  • End Page

  • 883
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 6