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ERIC Number: ED187435
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Children's Physical Appearance and Adult Expectations.
Feeg, Veronica DeCarolis; Peters, Donald L.
Caregivers' expectancies and behaviors in relationship to young handicapped children were investigated in this paper. Two studies were conducted in an attempt to answer three questions: (1) How will caregivers respond to the young handicapped child? (2) Do the child's stimulus characteristics, such as physical appearance, create biases in caregivers' overall judgments of functional capabilities? (3) Can training change susceptibility to negative biases? The first study investigated responses of subjects to the facial characteristics of developmentally normal children, developmentally abnormal children, and children who had received craniofacial surgery. The 90 experimental subjects came equally from nursing, special education, and child development fields; 30 control subjects were used. Facial appearance of children systematically influenced the subjects' assesement of functional capabilities, whereas professional training made no meaningful contribution to subjects' judgments regarding capabilities of unattractive and attractive children. The second study measured the generalizability of the results of Study 1 in a different setting, which was a facility for mentally retarded children whose fully trained staff had extended contact with the children. When staff rated a child high in appearance, they gave high ratings in nine other dimensions, including intelligence, social competence, and motor performance. Staff characteristics such as age, educational level, experience, general appearance, or work satisfaction were not associated with staff assessments of children. The authors discuss the implications of the findings and suggest that a carefully planned analysis of training effects be undertaken. (Author/DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Bureau of Education for the Handicapped (DHEW/OE), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (Atlanta, GA, November 8-11, 1979).