Publication 2177

Gash H. (1996) Changing attitudes towards children with special needs. European Journal of Special Needs Education 11: 286–297. Fulltext at
A total of 305 urban primary school children participated in an educational programme to promote awareness of children with special needs. Subjects were pretested to assess their initial attitudes towards and prior experience of children with special needs and posttested to see how their attitudes changed as a result of an educational intervention programme based on constructivist ideas. Programme effects, which included both augmentation of some positive attitudes and diminution of sympathy for children with special needs, were strongly correlated with grade and gender differences in initial attitudes. Whether the drop in sympathy constitutes normalization or permission to be dismissive requires further examination. Relevance: This study shows the implications of using constructivist approaches in classrooms. It seems clear that changing attitudes may not always have the desired effects, and that longer term interventions may be needed.


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