Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between enrollment in an inclusive preschool program and acceptance and understanding of children with special needs by typically developing peers. Data were collected through questionnaires completed by parents of children attending a private inclusive preschool (n = 6) and a university-based preschool program (n = 5), and interviews with children at these schools. The objective of the interviews was to explore typically developing children’s understanding of specific disabilities (i.e. physical, hearing, vision, Down’s syndrome, and autism) and their general acceptance of children with special needs. The goal of the study was to explore the potential benefits of educating typically developing children and children with special needs together. The hypothesis was that typically developing children at the private inclusive preschool would be more accepting and have a better understanding of physical and developmental special needs compared to the children at the university-based preschool program. Although the pattern of results was consistent with predictions, group differences were not statistically significant. Limitations of the present study are discussed, and directions for future research are suggested.