Comparing children's attitudes towards disability


  • Bernadette Cairns,

  • Kirstie McClatchey

Address for correspondence:

 Kirstie McClatchey

 Highland Council Psychological Service

 11–13 Culcabock Avenue

 Inverness IV2 3RG




This study, carried out by Bernadette Cairns, principal officer for Additional Support Needs and Early Education in the Highland Council Additional Support Needs Team, and Kirstie McClatchey, a research assistant in the Highland Council Psychological Service, explores children's attitudes towards disability, making a comparison between a school with a high number of pupils with additional support and complex needs where the philosophy was one of inclusion, and a school with few children with additional support needs. An opportunity sample of children (N = 82) in Scotland was obtained, and interview data were collected from pupils regarding video clips they had viewed of children with varying disabilities. Results found that children from the more inclusive school had a greater number of prior experiences of children with disabilities, made different suggestions for helping children with disabilities and had more positive attitudes towards having a pupil with disabilities in their own class. To conclude, these findings suggest that inclusion in schools may lead to a positive effect on children's acceptance and understanding of disabilities.