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Abstract

This intervention study examined the impact of reading young adult novels that portray people with disabilities on the attitudes of 229 eighth grade students. Students’ beliefs and intentions to interact with peers with disabilities were measured on three occasions utilizing the Shared Activities Questionnaire (Morgan, Walker, Bieberich & Bell, 1996, Unpublished manuscript) and the Adjective Checklist (Siperstein, 1980; Siperstein & Bak, 1977). First, all students took the attitudinal surveys. Half of the students then read and responded to a book that portrays a character with a disability, while the other students read a novel without disability portrayals. All students then listened and responded to short stories portraying teens with disabilities. Afterwards, all students took the survey a third time. Repeated measures Analysis of Variance revealed no significant differences within or between subjects on either measure. Potential explanations for the results of this study as well as pedagogical implications are provided.


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