Date of Award
Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)
Dr. Lisa Kelly-Vance
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Kids on the Block (KOB) program in its ability to promote positive attitudes, knowledge, and acceptance of persons with disabilities. The KOB program was shown to elementary-aged students in grades I through 6. Children were asked to complete three separate measures one week before watching the KOB performance, one week after the performance, and four months later. Separate paired-sample t-tests were conducted comparing group means at pre-test to post test to determine immediate change. To determine long-term change, scores from pre-test were compared to scores at follow-up. Paired t-tests were conducted to look at changes within each group (males, females, lower elementary [grades, 1, 2, and 3], and upper elementary students [grades 4, 5, and 6]). Independent t-tests were used to analyze differences between groups (males versus females; lower elementary versus upper elementary) at pre-test, post-test, and follow-up (a = .05). Results indicate an overall decrease in attitudes of children towards students with disabilities. This study questions the cost-effectiveness of the KOB program and whether the inclusion of a discussion aspect as well as less expensive media can create a positive change in children's attitudes towards students with disabilities. Studying the attitudes of children toward individuals with disabilities has become a growing area of research since the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Although law has mandated that all children are provided with the right to a free and appropriate public education under PL 94-142 (now IDEA) (Friend & Bursuck, 1999; Hardman, Drew, & Egan, 1999; Salend, 1998), a positive and accepting attitude by students without disabilities of those with disabilities is not guaranteed. Additionally, with the negative stereotypes toward persons with disabilities that are perpetuated in the media, these stereotypes are carried into society and to our children as reflecting reality (Shapiro, 1999). Many interventions have been developed to promote positive attitudes toward those with disabilities. Included in some of these interventions are simulations, group discussions, films, contact, inclusion literature, and problem solving (Andrews, 1998; Baker, Rude, Sasso, & Weishahn, 1994; Gottleib, 1980; Salisbury, Evans, & Palombaro, 1997; Westervelt, & McKinney, 1980; Westervelt, Brantley, & Ware, 1983). One program that has been in existence for a number of years but has not been systematically studied is Kids on the Block (KOB). Kids on the Block is a program that uses puppets to teach children about disabilities and create positive attitudes in children towards persons with disabilities that can be carried on into the future. The program has a commitment to provide programs to communities where children's questions and concerns about persons with disabilities can be answered. The puppets allow the children to speak openly about their concerns because, although they have been taught not to talk to strangers, no one ever told them not to talk with puppets (Aiello, 1988). The present study explored the effectiveness of the Kids on the Block program in promoting positive attitudes, knowledge, and acceptance of persons with disabilities. If KOB is found to be effective, the results of this study will help to validate and create strategies that will promote children's positive attitudes towards persons with disabilities. This study serves to extend the scant research base on the KOB program. A discussion of the literature supporting the proposed study includes: inclusion, attitudes and their components, attitudes toward inclusion, attitudes toward persons with disabilities, and strategies for promoting positive attitudes toward persons with disabilities, including KOB. These areas are important to discuss in order to present a thorough background on the idea for the creation of KOB and why this program is important to study.
Johnson, Amanda G., "Kids on the block and attitudes, knowledge, and acceptance of children with disabilities." (2003). Student Work. 2689.