Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Kelly-Vance


Students' attitudes toward peers with disabilities may be influenced by a variety of factors. Two potential factors are curriculum of the school and integration of students with disabilities with nondisabled peers. Inclusion of students with disabilities in the regular classroom will increase experience and exposure. Further, a religious aspect of a curriculum may positively or negatively affect the reported attitudes of students in parochial schools. The purpose of the present study was to describe possible differences in curriculum and students' attitudes toward peers with disabilities in parochial and public schools. Elementary school children from parochial and public schools were interviewed to determine attitudes toward peers with disabilities. Students from the schools did not differ in their attitude accessibility, suggesting that parochial and public school students have similar attitude strength toward peers with disabilities. Differences in how the schools approached the topic of disabilities emerged, with public schools emphasizing equality and parochial schools stressing empathy. Further, the students expressed these differences in values through their responses. Overall, the students did not have a firm understanding of the definition of a disability, and neglected to consider non-visible differences such as learning disabilities. Obtained responses suggest that students need more education and knowledge on individuals with disabilities.


An EdS Field Project Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2006 Janet Miller