Parental attitudes toward children with handicaps: new perspectives with a new measure.
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Research on attitudes toward the disabled generally has focused on adult perceptions of disabled adults, or children's attitudes toward peers. In view of changing social practices, such as mainstreaming in education and community integration of children with special needs, measures of adults' attitudes toward disabled children are needed. This paper reports on the development and validation of a 30-item self-report questionnaire assessing parental attitudes toward children with handicaps, and presents information concerning several determinants of parental attitudes. The measure is easy to use, reliable, and shows good evidence of construct validity. It detects differences among parents by gender, by parental education and occupational status, by cultural background of parents, by parental familiarity with a handicapped person, and by stimulus (physically disabled vs. mentally retarded child referent). Results are discussed in relation to determinants of parental attitudes toward handicaps. Potential applications of this measure for evaluation of teacher attitudes are suggested.
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