A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL OF A ‘BUDDY’ PROGRAMME TO IMPROVE CHILDREN'S ATTITUDES TOWARD THE DISABLED
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Children's attitudes to their disabled peers exert a powerful influence on the process of integration of the disabled. This study reports a randomized controlled trial of a 'buddy' interaction programme in which gender-matched able-bodied and disabled schoolmates were paired over a three-month period. 43 per cent of the buddy children had a significant improvement in attitudes, compared with 18 per cent of the controls. Buddies also got to know significantly more disabled schoolmates than did the control children. There was a secondary effect on parents, with both fathers and mothers of buddy children having significant improvements in attitude. The implications of these results for the social success of disabled children are discussed.
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