Attitudes toward integration of children with disabilities: the effect of the implementation of the paralympic education material from 1960 to 2004 on 5th and 6th grade primary school children in greece

Por: C. H. Evaggelinou, G. Bouramas, T. Kippers e Y. Vanlandewijck.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

The Athens Organizing Committee (ATHOC) of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in collaboration with the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Matters, introduced in 2002 a complete educational program to all elementary and secondary school children aiming to promote Olympic and Paralympic values. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of this program on 5th and 6th grade elementary school children.

Methods

1072 children, 522 boys and 550 girls (mean age 11 years) which comprise 30% of all schools in the prefecture of Serres, involved on a ten week program promoting their awareness and sensitization towards Paralympic Games as well as the importance of the coexistence of individuals with and without disabilities in sport and recreation activities. Teaching the Paralympic Educational Material (PEM) to student’s special attention was given to cognitive, behavioral and emotional approach, which has been proven to develop empathy and social acceptance towards individuals with disabilities. In addition, PEM was based on theoretical background of three leading attitude change theories: Contact theory, Planned Behavior theory and Social Judgement theory. Data were collected by using a modified version of the Mainstreaming Attitude Inventory for Physical Educators (MAIPE) of Jansma et al. (1982). The questionnaires on pre- and posttest were completed individually inside the classroom.

Results

The results revealed positive attitudes toward children with disabilities after the completion of the program. Furthermore, these results indicated that when the environment is carefully constructed and the activities used are designed to continuously motivate the students, then the final results are more positive.  

Discussion/Conclusions

These results support literature findings (Block, 2000; Donaldson, 1980; Pernice et al., 1996) which indicate that personal contact, accurate information and simulation exercises have been successful in changing attitudes. These results are considered informative and encouraging towards the national effort which has been given to equal educational treatment of students with disabilities (Public Law 2817/2000). The authors of this study suggest that the physical educators should consider PEM when planning the physical education curriculum aiming the teaching of students with disabilities attending typical schools.

References

[1]. Block, M.E. (2000). A teacher’s guide to including students with disabilities in general physical education (2nd ed.).

Baltimore, MD: Brooks.

[2]. Donaldson J. (1980). Except Children, 46, 504-511

[3]. Jansma et al. (1982). Rehab Counseling Bulletin, 26, 29-36

[4]. Pernice et al. (1996). Intern J Rehab Research, 19, 171-174

 

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