Young children's understanding of learning disability

Hames, Annette (2002) Young children's understanding of learning disability. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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While it is certainly true that children - and adults - with learning disabilities have become more visible within society, we still have inadequate knowledge of people's understanding of learning disability. In particular, there is little or no information about the development of understanding among siblings of children with learning disabilities. The five studies presented here seek to provide relevant information. The first study forms part of a longitudinal investigation of siblings' conceptions (a) of their brothers' and sisters' disabilities; and (b) of the implications of these disabilities upon themselves and their disabled brothers and sisters. The next three studies compare (a) understanding of learning disability; (b) perceived social acceptability of children with learning disabilities; and (c) attainment of the normative concept of ability, amongst the siblings of children with severe and profound disabilities, children who have contact with others with disabilities in school and children who have no contact. These three studies identify children as young as 4 who are able to predict the difficulties that will be experienced by a child with severe learning disabilities, and children as young as 5 who can use adult-type explanations for why these difficulties occur. Having an older brother or sister with a learning disability promotes understanding. It is suggested that children's social experiences, - particularly language - facilitate early understanding, and that children who possess greater understanding of a disabled child's difficulties are consequently more likely to rate this child as having lower perceived social acceptability. The findings from these studies may help families and teachers who are concerned about young children's understanding and acceptance of other children with learning disabilities. The final study considers the adult general public's understanding of learning disability and was conducted in order that investigation with children could be considered within the context of adults' understanding.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2010 09:29
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 13:37

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