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Summary


PRESCHOOLERS’ SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE TOWARDS PEERS WITH DISABILITIES: REFLECTIONS FROM AN ACTIVITY-BASED INTERACTION PROGRAM

Preschoolers’ attitudes toward peers with disabilities are important since the preschool period/years can be considered as the ideal starting point for TD children to be educated together with children with disabilities. The purpose of the present study was to determine the increase of preschoolers’ social acceptance towards children with disabilities through an activity-based interaction program. The study was carried out with the participation of 24 children with typically development continuing their education at a preschool in a city in Turkey, as well as 3 teachers. Children were aged 60–72 months, with an average age of 5.8. 54% of the children were female (n=13) and 46% were male (n=11). The participating children were implemented a seven-week social interaction program within the scope of the inclusion approach. The data were collected through semi-structured interview questions applied to the children and teachers before and after the implementation. The content analysis technique was used for data analysis and a descriptive statistics procedure was employed. Results of the study showed the positive impact of the activity-based interaction program on the social acceptance levels of typically developing children towards their peers with disabilities. Before the study implementation, a majority of the participants considered peers with disabilities as individuals who should be pitied and felt sorry for. The opinions collected after the implementation illustrated that a majority of the children participants considered children with disabilities as individuals to be helped, communicated with, and empathized for. The results of the study also revealed that the activity-based interaction program had various benefits for the children with disabilities. The results are discussed in terms of research literature and practice.



Keywords

Social acceptance, children with disabilities, typically developing children, preschoolers


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