Date Approved

2009

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Special Education

Abstract

This study examines the impact of reading children’s literature that contains a positive and realistic portrayal of a character with a learning disability on the attitudes of students without disabilities toward their peers with disabilities. Children completed the Attitude Toward Disabled Persons Scale (ADTP) before and after listening to a story and participating in guided discussion. The researcher conducted individual interviews with a smaller group of children based on changes in their attitudes on the surveys. Quantitative results indicate a statistically significant and large positive effect on attitudes towards persons with disabilities from participating in reading and discussion. Qualitative results indicate the students made significant gains in decreasing stereotyping of people with disabilities, with the largest attitude change in students who had connections with people with disabilities in their lives.

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