Young Children’s Understanding of Disabilities

Implications for Attitude Development and Inclusive Education

Authored by: SeonYeong Yu , Michaelene M. Ostrosky

Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415884341
eBook ISBN: 9780203841198
Adobe ISBN: 9781136897023


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In the world of early childhood special education, services are provided along two oftentimes separate service delivery and funding streams that are designed to meet the needs of (a) infants and toddlers (birth to 3) and (b) preschool age children (ages 3–5). Preschool special education services are mandated (hence, required to be provided by states) while infant/toddler services are discretionary (Taylor, McGowan, & Linder, 2009). Inclusion of young children with disabilities in classrooms with typically developing peers has become a primary service option in early childhood special education (Odom, 2000). Data reveal that approximately half of all preschoolers with disabilities receive special education services in programs that include typically developing peers (U.S. Department of Education, 2004). Theoretical, empirical, and ethical rationales emphasize that children with disabilities should have opportunities to interact with their typically developing peers (Hestenes & Carroll, 2000, p. 229).

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