Individuals with disabilities account for 26% of Americans and 14% of public education students. This minority group may not only deal with physical and/or mental impairments but also negative societal misunderstandings and attitudes that may lead to decreased friendships and increased social exclusion. Awareness and knowledge about disabilities can play a role in changing people’s attitudes towards disabilities and aid in creating a more positive and inclusive environment. Researchers have found that disability awareness programs in schools can positively teach young children to build positive attitudes about disabilities. In our program, a group of doctoral students helped young children in a local preschool and an elementary school to learn about disabilities through age-appropriate activities. This program collaborated with community partners to design, modify, and decide on activities for each age group. This program was delivered to 80 young children between the ages of two to seven. Feedback from both schools showed that students gained a better understanding of disability and how to appropriately interact with people with disabilities.
Zhang, Jingyuan; Ray Miranda, David; and Xin, Yan Ping
"Disability Awareness Program for Young Children: A Community Service-Learning Program at Preschool and Elementary School,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 9
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol9/iss1/7