THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND
It is often found in the behavior of others the most formidable barrier facing by individuals with disabilities. Students will treat the student with disabilities often times negatively if they consider them to be deviant from what they consider to be the norm. It includes ignoring or otherwise discounting the student’s existence. This such behavior is may be due to lack of awareness, understanding and knowledge about what disabilities are and what it means to have one. One method to address the negative perceptions of the general education students regarding students with disabilities is the awareness programs or activities (Colorado State University, 2009). Disability awareness programs or activities create more accepting and positive environment for students with disabilities. Raising awareness and implementing disability education in the whole school community will have a better chance of fostering peer acceptance and accommodate students with disabilities (Lindsay ; McPherson, 2011).
It is important in one community that people are aware and recognize that each person has his own uniqueness and differences. Disability awareness means providing people the knowledge about exceptionalities and educating them the value and importance of people with disabilities. Awareness about different disabilities can break misconceptions and unfair beliefs. It opens minds to become conscious about giving labels on persons with exceptionalities (Global Lift Corp, 2016).
Proclamation No. 361 declares the third week of July as the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week and culminates on the birthdate of sublime paralytic, Apolinario Mabini. It is important that the whole nation builds national interest in stimulating public awareness on the problems of disability. Through this initiative, every citizen is encouraged to take active responsibility in the upliftment of the economic and social conditions of the PWDs of our society (NCDA, 2000). Negative attitudes of the people towards these students with disabilities is a barricade for them to participate in developing peers in school and in the community. But if these children are surrounded by supportive individuals with positive attitudes they can take full advantage of their social and educational responsibilities (Ison et. al, 2010).
During the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week 2017, Siena College QC supported and participated in culminating of the said event. The main task of the celebration was to conduct different activities that give awareness to the whole school community about the different disabilities of the Special Education students. One of the highlights of the celebration was the “Best Buddies” activity where each office and department of the school adopts a special education student from special education for the day.
The main objective of the “Best Buddies” activity was to stimulate whole school community awareness on the problems of disability and encourage every students and personnel to take active responsibility in the upliftment of the economic and social conditions of the PWDs of in the school and society. Thereby, encouraging them to take pro-active roles in nation building.
Statement of the Problem
This study aims to assess the degree of awareness of the disabilities of the Special Education students and effect to general education students through the activity entitled “Best Buddies” during NDPR Week 2017.
Respondents will seek to answer the following questions:
What is the demographic profile of the respondents in terms of the following:
How is the interaction between special education students and general education students in terms of the following:awareness;
How did the respondents feel before, during and after the interaction with the Special Education students?
What are their expectations for the next “Best Buddies” activity?
What suggestions could increase awareness in SCQC Special Education?
Significance of the Study
This study will serve as an eye opener to the different disabilities of Special Education students and the school community will recognize the importance of interacting and dealing with Special Education students. This study will help change the misconceptions towards special education students. May this study become a step in breaking barriers and promote change to the following:
For the Junior High School students, this will help awaken their minds to have better understanding about differences and avoid discriminating and bullying people with disabilities. Also, this study will help them to be conscious on giving labels and expressing negative attitudes toward exceptional children.
For the BSE Special Education students, this study will promote disability awareness through the information they will gathered from this research. From the new knowledge they gain, it could be used as an action in increasing the awareness of the people through giving suggestions of the different activities or programs regarding special education.
This study will benefit the special education area in SCQC for it can give them the information or idea regarding the activities they conducted during the culmination of awareness week. From this study they will be able to find out the effectivity of “best buddies” in increasing the awareness of junior high school students concerning disabilities.
Junior High School Students:
Interaction Between SPED Students and General Education Students
General Education Students Behavior Towards SPED Students
Expectations of Next “Best Buddies” Activity
Suggestions for the Next “Best Buddies” Activity
Junior High School Students Awareness of Special Education
Figure 1 Conceptual Model of Study
Demographic Profile of the Respondents:
The independent variables are the factors that contribute to awareness of Special Education students. The dependent variable of the degree of awareness of Special Education students as a result of participation in the “Best Buddies” activity. The moderator variables are the personal data of the respondents.
Scope and Limitations
The general purpose of the study is to describe the effect of awareness to special education in SCQC. The scope of the profile is concentrated on four critical areas which are interaction between general education students and special education students, general education students’ behavior towards special education students, expectations of next “best buddies” activity and suggestions for the next “best buddies” activity. Specifically, the content of the interaction between general education and special education students is based on seven areas namely: awareness, adjustment, attitude, approach, acceptance, support and effect. This study is limited to the selected junior high school students from Integrated Basic Education (IBED) who participated in “Best Buddies” activity and who answered the survey questionnaire provided by the researchers.
Definition of Terms
To ensure clarity and better understanding of the content and context of the study, the following terms defined are based on how they are used in this study:
Awareness – It refers to the quality of being aware, having knowledge and understanding of something that is really happening or exists (Merriam-Webster, 2018).
Awareness Week –
Best Buddies – It refers on partnering students with disabilities with students without disabilities, to foster a sense of social inclusion and friendships.” (Leah Burgess, 2014)
Culminating – It refers to a climax or point of a highest development (Oxford Dictionaries, 2018).
Deal – It refers to particular kind of behavior or conduct toward another; it is also a way of treating other people (Collins Dictionary, 2018).
Disability – It refers to a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, it damage the person’s limits or ability to engage in certain tasks or actions, it is also hard for them to participate in typical daily activities and interactions (Merriam Webster, 2018).
Exceptionalities – It means unusual or uncommon, it deviates from the norm such as having above or below average intelligence or physically disabled (Merriam Webster, 2018).
General Education – It is the program of education based on state standards and evaluated by the annual state educational standards test to develop what children deserve to achieve or should receive (Jerry Webster, 2017).
Interaction – It is the activity of being with and talking to other people, and the way that people react to each other (MACMILLAN Dictionary, 2018).
Misconceptions – It refers to a wrong interpretation to something, it is a view or opinion that is incorrect because based on faulty thinking or understanding (Oxford Dictionaries, 2018).
Special Education – It refers to the practice of educating students with special needs in a way that addresses and meets their needs to help them achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school (wikipidea.org, 2018).
Value – It refers to the value of something such as a quality, attitude, or method is its importance or usefulness. It is based on your judgment or own perception on what is important in life, if you place a particular value on something, that is the importance or usefulness you think it has (Collins Dictionary, 2018).
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES
On Disability Awareness in Schools
Programs and activities about disability awareness are influential to the environment of a school. It is extremely important to have disability awareness in schools because it educates students so they may become better citizens (Lindsay ; McPherson, 2011).
According to Gasser, Malti ; Buholzer (2012), including disability into education will help and benefit students to be more understanding diversity. It is important to involve the student with disabilities to general education environment because it supports understanding and the contact between the students is an effective way of eliminating prejudice and support tolerance for differences.
Involvement is important to develop understanding and acceptance of any type of diversity. It is essential to have awareness programs or activities in school because it leads to positive attitudes towards students with disabilities (Morin, Rivard, Crocker, Boursier ; Caron, 2008). Students are likely to develop a more positive attitude towards differences, diversity and specifically disability when they are educated about these topics. It develops out of ignorance the negative attitudes of the students towards students with disabilities (Ison, McIntyre, Rothery, Smithers-Sheedy, Goldsmith ; Parsonage, 2010).
According to Ison et. al (2010), disability programs or activities in school is the solution to end the ignorance of the students because it educates them in fostering and nourishing positive attitudes in developing peers towards children with disabilities. Therefore, a way to promote acceptance, understanding and in increasing knowledge of the students about different disabilities are the awareness programs or activities in school which leads to the decline of negative attitudes towards children with disabilities which is also the key to the development of an accepting school environment.
Interaction Between SPED Students and General Education Students
Classroom and other interactions among general education students and students with disabilities have a higher chance for success if the teachers provide guidelines to the students. If general education students primary contact with students with special needs is purposeful and occurs in well-structured situation, positive attitudes could possibly develop (Rief ; Heimburge, 2006).
Social interaction between general education and special education students can be necessary to the social experiences of students with special needs. Students with special needs who develop positive relationship with other general education students can build a higher self-esteem and experience a higher motivation to them in school. Through the interaction of children with special needs to general education students, the students with special needs are developing more skills that are very relevant to the academic success. (Candace, 2016)
According to Glick and Rose (2011), acceptance refers of being qualified to have a strong friendship or the capability to have a closer relationship with other peers or general education students. Avcioglu (2013) believes that social skills are one of the ability to perform or give proper behavior in social environment and have a significant role in building interpersonal relationship to other peers or to the special education students. Students with special needs sometimes can’t properly interact to the peers or general education students around them because they are lack of social skills. Tepstra and Tamura (2008) believe that students with special needs learn different concepts from their particular teachers, but they also learn from the academic, social and behavior approach from their peers. According to Slaughter (2013), students with special needs who are put on themselves in effective social interaction with general education students or peers are more adjusted and well liked in general.
Attitudes are extremely important and affected by information. Students attitude improve when they have increased their knowledge about students with disabilities (Simpson, 1980). Information dispels the misconceptions of the students and clarifies misunderstanding and it decreases the fear and prejudice of the students towards disabilities. As the general education students learn more about the abilities and problems of students with disabilities they become more accepting (Fiedler & Simpson, 1987)
The attitudes of the students can have a life-long impacts on students with disabilities. Damaging consequences such as loneliness, few friendships and the potential for becoming victims of bullying can happen if students without disabilities show negative attitudes towards students with disabilities (de Boer, Pijl & Minnaert, 2012).
School is the place where students learn to accept, understand and become friendly to other people with differences. Involving student with disabilities in class provide the students without disabilities the opportunity to develop a more positive attitude and learn to reduce stereotypes about disabilities. Through contact with student with disabilities, it increases the tolerance of students without disabilities for differences (Gasses, Malti & Buholzer, 2012).
There are multiple factors that affect the attitudes of developing students with students with disabilities. According to Swaim & Morgan (2001), young children tend to have more positive attitudes while according to Tang, Davis, Wu & Oliver (2000), older children tend to have more negative feelings. Based on de Boer, Pijl & Minnaert (2012), gender plays a role, it has been found that girls are more positive than boys. De Boer et al. (2012) explains that behavior problems of the students are more likely to receive negative attitudes from peers.
According to McGinnis (2006), students are less afraid and move likely to establish relationships when they are exposed to diversity and understand the importance of student differences which leads to acceptance and a more positive environment.
A positive environment encourages learning for all students not just students with disabilities. Attitude of society affects the integration of student with disabilities not only in schools but also in community (Morin et. Al, 2013). But in order for the students to develop a positive attitude, they should have the opportunity to access information, understanding what student with disabilities go through and acknowledge how student with disabilities should be treated properly with respect into society.
Peers may serve a powerful common support for students with disabilities in both academic and social areas (Tannock, 2009). Peer support programs may scope from simply making opportunities for students with disabilities to interact socially with peers without disabilities or with general education students. (Cengage Learning, 2012)
Some teachers have come up with peer support on student to address the classroom social interaction dilemma and build up peer acceptance of students with special needs (DiMeo, Ryan and Defanti, 1989). Peer support is on credit with the responsibility to make sure that all of the students with special needs are valued and accepted as a committed member of a class.
Friend and Barsuck (2009) stated that Formal supports are accessible in public school organization. Natural supports are to students with special needs consists of the student’s family and classmates. According to Friend and Barsuck (2012) Students with special needs should have their access to formal and natural support. Through the different supports given to students with special needs, they will tend to achieve success to their environment as well in the inclusive classroom. (Cengage Learning, 2012)
To fully understand what it will take to promote acceptance and friendships among students with and without disabilities, it is relevant to find out something about how students with disabilities and without disabilities feel to each other and with whom they want to spend their time (Freiberg, 2018).
Simply including students with special needs in general education classroom activities and classes does not mean that their social acceptance or their achievement of improved social skills ( Guetzloe, 1999) In other cases, the general education students must take over and engage in developing and implementing a systematic program designed to improved social skills and to level up their social integration (Lewis, Doorlag, 2006).
When you support students with special needs to be a one real member of the classroom, you will help them to avoid the feeling of being ignored and rejected by the classroom peers ( Iano, Ayers, Heller, McGettigan, ; Walker, 1974). Classroom peers will become involved in accepting the students with special needs during the first time of placing them into the general education classroom. The key to social acceptance are through the classroom acceptance. And under the right factors it can provide effective assistance for helping students with special needs to be more accepted in the classroom (Mastropieri, Scrugs, 2000).
On Behavior Towards SPED Students
Students with disabilities school experiences can either be positively or negatively influenced by the attitudes and behaviors of students, peers and educators toward them. Negative attitude are also means of bias and discrimination. However, general education students who show a negative attitude does not mean that they will also act or show a negative behavior toward a student with disability (Millington, Strohmer, Reid, ; Spengler, 1996). According to Beattie, Anderson ; Antonak (1997), in reality, general education students or peers who show negative attitudes toward students with disabilities will likely expect to also get an inappropriate behavior from those students.
The negative attitudes of students toward students with disabilities can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. General education students’ behaviors regarding the negative attitudes of their peers with disabilities will have to contemplate necessarily. General education students are sometimes more likely interested to interact to the students without disabilities (Nowicki & Sandieson, 2002) and as related to that statement, Heinrichs (2003) also stated that students with disabilities experience more refuse to recognize by peers than the students without disabilities.
According to Lieberman et al. (year), one of the effective ways to help the general education students is to have a positive contact or behavior with students with disabilities to increase understanding and knowledge regarding the students with disabilities.