There are some people in the nation who attach a negative stigma to the words disability and disabled. In most cases, this is because an individual has anxieties when it comes to people with disabilities. This is especially true in our society when it comes to mental conditions. Because of how these conditions are portrayed by the media and in movies and television, many people across the nation may not fully understand what these disabling conditions are and could be discriminating against people based on their disability in the end.
Researchers confirmed this just recently after asking roughly 1,500 kids, ages seven to 16, about their attitudes towards people with disabilities. In cases where children were familiar with varying conditions and disabilities, the likelihood of anxiety or fear dropped dramatically. Even in cases where a child had little to no contact with a person with disabilities, but were told about such conditions by a friend, children were often comforted by the other child’s lack of anxiety and were likely to feel more empathy towards a person with a disability.
While sharing stories about people with disabilities can be incredibly helpful in promoting positive attitudes towards all people, researchers are also finding that integrating children with disabilities into regular classrooms can actually be more effective in the long run.
Some people here in Illinois believe that by educating people and increasing society’s familiarity with disabling conditions, we can finally break down some of the age-old stereotypes that lead to cases of disability discrimination. In the end, the overall hope is that reducing these stereotypes will help people with disabilities feel more accepted and less singled out by society.
Source: Disability Scoop, “Kids’ Attitudes About Disabilities Improve With Exposure,” Michelle Diament, Aug. 30, 2013