ERIC Number: EJ1051811
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Reference Count: 34
Pick a Book, Any Book: Using Children's Books to Support Positive Attitudes toward Peers with Disabilities
Ostrosky, Michaelene M.; Mouzourou, Chryso; Dorsey, Emily A.; Favazza, Paddy C.; Leboeuf, Lisa M.
Young Exceptional Children, v18 n1 p30-43 Mar 2015
The Division for Early Childhood/National Association for the Education of Young Children's (2009) joint position statement on inclusion stresses the importance of (a) developing practices that support young children of diverse abilities in inclusive learning environments, (b) being part of supportive school communities, and (c) engaging in positive social relationships and friendships with peers. Specifically, the statement notes the importance of creating "a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning" (p. 2). According to Odom (2000), preschoolers with disabilities engage in social interactions with peers less often than typically developing peers. Studies have repeatedly shown that preschoolers prefer to include typically developing peers in play as opposed to their peers with disabilities (Diamond, Hong, & Tu, 2008; Diamond, Le Furgy, & Blass, 1993; Guralnick & Groom, 1987; Odom et al., 2006). While positive peer interaction is associated with the social acceptance of children with disabilities, children with special needs are at risk of being socially rejected and marginalized in early childhood inclusive settings without curriculum to support greater acceptance of these children (Favazza, 1998; Favazza & Odom, 1996, 1997; Favazza, Phillipsen, & Kumar, 2000). Considering these facts, the use of classroom materials and resources to counteract the risks of marginalization and rejection is critical. This article discusses the impact of reading on child development, the use of books featuring characters with disabilities, children's understandings about and interactions with peers with disabilities, including books about disabilities in early childhood classrooms, and using guided discussions to support young children's positive attitudes about individuals with disabilities. It concludes that the careful selection of children's books and thoughtfully structured discussions provide a direct path for supporting acceptance of children with disabilities, which is consistent with the attitude construct. At the very time when young children are forming early perceptions about peers and adults in the community, children are provided "indirect experiences" to disabilities through the use of high-quality books and guided discussions, with an emphasis on similarities.
Descriptors: Early Childhood Education, Picture Books, Childrens Literature, Attitudes toward Disabilities, Positive Attitudes, Peer Relationship, Inclusion, Social Development, Friendship, Preschool Children, Interaction, Reading Materials, Teaching Methods, Reading, Child Development, Reading Material Selection, Discussion (Teaching Technique)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R324A080071