Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

December 2013

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Joanna Gonsalves

Abstract

This thesis examines teachers' attitudes towards social skill development and beliefs towards inclusion and social integration in their young students with disabilities, while also examining some of their current practices. With the increasing push toward integrating classrooms, it is important to pay attention to how teachers are adapting to having more students with disabilities in their classrooms and how they are approaching developing social skills among their students. Children with special needs can be at a disadvantage because of the decreased amount of attention paid to their socialization.

A sample of elementary teachers, special education teachers, administrators and counselors were surveyed to ascertain their views on the topic, including whether teaching social skills is seen as important or not, what age to start teaching social skills, how much room in curricula do teachers have for developing social skills, and their views on the inclusion of special education students in the general education classroom. The main objective of the study was to compare attitudes and beliefs about inclusion and social integration that are held by elementary teachers with those held by special education teachers, administrators and counselors. Differences emerged in the practical application of social skill training strategies, and in the beliefs about when children should receive the most focused social skill training.

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