Including children with disabilities in the regular school system in Israel is the law since 1988. In 2007 Israel signed the UN convention on disability rights which was ratified in September 2012. Thus, inclusion needs to be implemented by "default", all kids should attend the same schools, yet this is only partially practiced. For inclusion to be successful, a central issue which has to be addressed is the attitude of children towards their peers with disability, which should be assessed and intervened if necessary.
Preschool children aged 5-6.5 years old (N=100) were "interviewed" via a measure which was developed (like a game) to assess kindergartners attitudes-perceptions towards children with disability. The children were selected from 10 different kindergartens, after their parents' signed an agreement for their participation. Each child was individually "interviewed" for about 15-20 minutes. The measure addresses issues in the cognitive, emotional and behavioral areas. Preliminary findings (N= 100) will be reported which are presenting some concerning data on young children's perceptions-attitude- understanding of disability. The findings suggest the importance of early education to change and establish positive attitudes. Analyses will address gender, age, and familiarization (personally) with disability.
Children as young as preschoolers have definite attitudes-perceptions regarding disabilities. Some of them are disturbing which can be a strong basis for developing negative attitudes. Their responses and explanations reveal thought, rationale, logic which is based on lack of knowledge and information which can be addressed and should be by the education systems as early as possible.