Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Donald C. Weaver

Second Advisor

Dr. Howard Poole

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield


This study focused on the development and use of instructional materials for teaching handicap awareness to elementary third grade children. The purposes of the study were (1) to determine if there is a need for instructional materials to teach handicap awareness, (2) to determine how teachers and experts would use instructional materials, (3) to determine the opinions of teachers and experts about the Handicap Awareness Series developed in this study and (4) to determine the opinions of children about the Handicap Awareness Series. The materials developed in this study were evaluated as an instructional method which could be used to prepare nonhandicapped third grade children for their interaction with handicapped peers in the mainstreaming process.

A total of 140 third grade children and five third grade teachers from Catholic parochial schools in Kalamazoo, Michigan and five experts in the fields of special education, early childhood education, social work, social psychology and reading instruction comprised the samples in this study. The instructional materials developed in the study included activity sheets and text for the students, a teacher's guide and a resource list. The materials were used by the teachers and students in classroom learning activities during the 1980-81 school year.

An opinion questionnaire was used to solicit opinions and/or recommendations from the three sample groups. The results of the data collection from the teacher and expert questionnaires were interpreted by the writer. The data from the children's questionnaire were analyzed using a chi-square test of independence and a contingency coefficient. Significant differences were found in the children's preferences for some of the activities in the Handicap Awareness Series.

The major conclusions drawn from this study were: (1) There is a need for additional types of handicap awareness instructional materials. (2) Previous teaching experience with handicapped children was not important in teaching handicap awareness. (3) Teachers used the materials with large groups rather than with individuals or small groups. (4) Teachers and experts judged the Handicap Awareness Series to be of high educational value. (5) Possible sex and classroom differences may exist in preferences for instructional activities. (6) A minority of students shared their handicap awareness instruction with their parents.

Recommendations for school systems, publishers and further research in the area of handicap awareness instruction were presented.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access