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Mainstream Students’ Attitudes to Possible Inclusion in Unified Sports with Students who have an Intellectual Disability

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Background 

Schools in New Zealand do not normally include students with intellectual disability in their sports programmes. This study examined regular students’ attitudes towards the possible inclusion of students with an intellectual disability in an integrated sports programme within their school. Materials and Methods 

A total of 170 school students at year 6 (10 years) and year 12 (16 years) at four Auckland schools completed an attitude scale assessing their acceptance of a possible unified sports programme at their school, a test of their knowledge about Special Olympics, and wrote open-ended comments about unified sports; a subsample at each age level was interviewed. Results 

Students had positive attitudes towards possible involvement alongside students with an intellectual disability in unified sports. These attitudes were moderated by age and gender, but not knowledge about Special Olympics. Conclusions 

The strengthening of inclusion and normalization through unified sports would likely have positive peer social acceptance by typical students in New Zealand.
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Keywords: inclusion; intellectual disability; normalization; social acceptance; unified sports

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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