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Parent perceptions of inclusive practices for their children with significant cognitive disabilities.
Abstract:
ABSTRACT: While there has been a recent trend toward inclusive educational placements for students with significant cognitive disabilities, little information exists regarding parent perceptions of such practices. This article reviews the construction and analysis of a scale designed to encourage research in this area. An examination of three dimensions of perceptions assessed by the scale found that parents were more positive regarding the impact of inclusion on mutual social benefits, acceptance, and treatment of their child and more apprehensive regarding the impact of inclusion on the quality of educational services their child receives. Discussion includes how these findings may offer insight into reasoning used by some parents when considering the benefits of more inclusive educational placements for their own children.

Subject:
Mentally disabled children (Education)
Parents of disabled children (Surveys)
Authors:
Palmer, David
Borthwick-Duffy, Sharon A.
Widaman, Keith
Pub Date:
01/01/1998
Publication:
Name: Exceptional Children Publisher: Council for Exceptional Children Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education; Family and marriage Copyright: COPYRIGHT 1998 Council for Exceptional Children ISSN: 0014-4029
Issue:
Date: Wntr, 1998 Source Volume: v64 Source Issue: n2
Accession Number:
20200062
Full Text:
Inclusive education programs for students with identified disabilities have become increasingly prevalent over the last several years (Katsiyannis, Conderman, & Franks, 1995; Sawyer, McLaughlin, & Winglee, 1994). This trend may be due in part to a general perception created by the extant literature, and by exposure of the subject in the mass media, that such programs are endorsed by most of those concerned with the education of exceptional children. However, concerns over the practical implications of a wide scale move toward inclusive models of educational service delivery have resulted in much divisiveness among parents and educators over the merits of some inclusion ideals (Borthwick-Duffy, Palmer, & Lane, 1996; Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994).

Support for more inclusive models of educational service delivery has traditionally been associated with advocates of the Regular Education Initiative (REI) who proposed merging the resources of general and special education to better serve students whose needs were primarily academic remediation. While REI proponents called for large scale mainstreaming, there was never any formal intent to eliminate all special programs. However, current and more fervent reform efforts calling for inclusion of all special education students into the general education classroom, and often for the elimination of separate special education programs, is now led by organizations such as The Association for Persons with Severe Disabilities (TASH) whose primary constituents are students with significant cognitive disabilities (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994).

These advocates have done much to expand educational opportunities and extend the continuum of placement options for students with significant cognitive disabilities, as witnessed by the trend toward an increasing number of such students being served in general class settings (Sawyer et al., 1994). Yet, while most educators appear to agree with the worthy principles, ideals, and goals associated with the inclusion position, many (i.e., Davis, 1989; Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994; Kaufman, 1989; Lieberman, 1985) have expressed concerns that the movement appears to be led by a small number of disillusioned special educators who may be ignoring input from many of those who are affected by the implementation of such programs.

While there is increasing literature regarding the perceived benefits of inclusive education (Brinker & Thorpe, 1984; Giangreco, Dennis, Cloninger, Edelman, & Schattman, 1993; Sharpe, York, & Knight, 1994; Staub & Hunt, 1993), it is also becoming clear that the goal of providing services to exceptional children strictly within general education classrooms is inconsistent with views expressed by many within the special education community. Citing the need to preserve the continuum of specialized programs and placement options which have been hard won in previous years, many parent and advocacy groups, primarily representing students with forms of disability that do not include a significant delay in cognitive functioning, have come out against the elimination of separate special education programs (Borthwick-Duffy et al., 1996; Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994).

This lack of unity in opinion regarding the efficacy of inclusive practices may result from conflicting views regarding the primary mission of the schools. While those advocating essentially for students with significant cognitive disabilities appear most interested in increased opportunities to develop social competence and friendships, and in the concept of providing a "normalized" environment, parents and advocates pledged to students with milder forms of disability are principally interested in the school's ability to provide specialized services designed to address academic goals (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994). The latter group believes that their goals can best be met through the availability of specialized programs and services that may be offered outside of the general education classroom, and are therefore against the elimination of such programs in the name of inclusive education.

However, curricular goals are only one component of a student's educational experience, and all parents cannot be expected to share a cohesive view of the function of the schools or of the efficacy of inclusion simply because their children share a common form of disability. As such, even parents of children with significant cognitive disabilities cannot be expected to hold similar views of inclusive practices simply on the basis of this shared interest. Research has, in fact, indicated that this group of parents holds widely divergent views regarding the efficacy of inclusive practices for their own children (Palmer, Borthwick-Duffy, Widaman, & Best, 1997). This finding indicates that educational placement preferences are likely to be affected by many interacting variables rather than just the student's primary disabling condition. Further, parent attitudes toward such practices are likely to be multidimensional, differentiated by considerations of the impact of inclusive practices on different domains of educational programming (Anotonak & Larrivee, 1995; Larrivee, 1992; Schmelkin, 1981; Semmel, Abernathy, Butera, & Lesar, 1991; Wilczenski, 1992).

As it has become clear that the ideal of full inclusion is not shared universally, the question remains as to what extent the move toward inclusive practices is consistent with the views and wishes of parents of students with significant cognitive disabilities; the group whom advocacy groups associated with the movement appear to represent. This is an important question because, besides the students themselves, parents are arguably those most affected by the move toward inclusive education. Further, parents have historically been the driving force behind many changes that have occurred in service delivery for exceptional children, and there is an increased awareness that parent and family input should be considered in educational decisions made for their children (Donnellan & Miranda, 1984; Erwin & Soodak, 1995; Gartner, 1988; Giangreco, Cloninger, Mueller, Yuan, Ashworth, 1991; Lipski, 1989; Nietupski & Hamre-Nietupski, 1987; Turnbull & Turnbull, 1990). For the current trend toward inclusive practices for students with significant cognitive disabilities to continue without obstruction, wide-scale parent support for such programs must be present.

While there is a need to understand the views of parents whose children display significant cognitive disabilities, research in this area is lacking. In accordance with the historical pattern of leadership within the inclusion movement, the bulk of the literature regarding parent perceptions and attitudes has focused on inclusive practices for children with mild or moderate disabilities (i.e. Hayes & Gunn, 1988; Lowenbraun & Affleck, 1990; Mlynek, Hannah, & Hamlin, 1982). Further, scales designed to measure attitudes toward inclusive practices have been concerned with perceptions of educators rather than parents, and address the perceived efficacy of inclusion of students identified with mild (Semmel et al., 1991) or unspecified (Anotonak & Larrivee, 1995; Larrivee, 1992; Schmelkin, 1981; Wilczenski, 1992) disabilities rather than those with severe disabilities.

While studies have emerged that consider parent views of general class placements for their children with sensory impairments (Giangreco et al., 1991), as well as parent perceptions regarding such practices as the placement of students with severe disabilities into programs on general education campuses (Guralnick, Conner, & Hammond, 1995; Hunt et al., 1993; McDonnell, 1987; Miller et al., 1992), to date there are no published empirical studies specifically addressing parent perceptions of the efficacy of including their own children with significant cognitive disabilities into general education classrooms. The unavailability of such research may be in part due to the lack of a formal attitudinal scale designed to measure such perceptions. The Parent Attitudes Toward Inclusion (PATI) Scale was designed for this purpose.

METHOD

Sample

All parents or guardians who had at least one child, from 3 to 22 years of age being served in a public school special day class setting designed for children with severe disabilities within the areas served by the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the Orange County Department of Education, or the North Orange County Special Education Local Plan Area in California, were contacted for involvement in the study. The three educational agencies solicited were specifically chosen for participation in the study based on the wide geographic areas they cover, and the ethnic and economic diversity of the parent and student populations they serve.

A further criterion for participation was that the special education eligibility condition of the child had to include a significant deficit in cognitive functioning. Therefore, parents of students who were being served in special day classrooms designed for severely disabled students whose primary disabling conditions involved such disabilities as sensory impairments or a serious emotional disturbance, without comorbidity in significant cognitive disability, were excluded from the study. To ensure adherence to these sampling criterion, an administrative authority from each participating educational agency, who was familiar with characteristics of the special education programs under the agency's jurisdiction, was involved in the process o4developing the final lists of parents to be contacted. The 3,267 parents identified through this process were contacted by letter through the mail and asked to participate in the study.

In response to the 3,267 contact letters sent, 995 surveys were requested by return postcards. No follow-up material was sent to parents who did not respond to the initial mailing so as not to impose upon parents who were being contacted from addresses provided by educational agencies. Further, the large number of parents initially contacted made it likely that the final sample would be sufficiently large to assure a high degree of validity associated with the results of the statistical procedures conducted. At the conclusion of the data collection phase of the study, a total of 476 surveys were returned--a 15% rate of return in reference to the initial mailing and a 48% return rate for those who requested surveys. Of the 476 surveys returned, 16 were excluded from data analysis procedures due to incompleteness; therefore, data from 460 surveys were analyzed in subsequent procedures.

Table 1 displays the final sample characteristics of the parents responding. Modal characteristics indicate that the typical respondent was the child's mother, was Euro-American, and had some college education. Only 18.7% of those completing the scale were fathers. The remaining 11% of respondents were residential caregivers, foster parents, or nonparental relatives.

Table 2 displays child data. Most students in the sample were not being mainstreamed at all and only a small percentage (9.5%) spent more than 3 hr a day in a general education classroom. Further, more of the children were boys (58%), and the sample contained good representation from all school age groups, with the mean age being 11.3 years. In addition, a sizable number of students had conditions that necessitated specialized school services. For example, almost half (44.4%) of the sample had problems with mobility while about two thirds (67.2%) had toilet accidents during the day, or were not toilet trained at all. Also, many students in the sample needed to be monitored during the day due to behavioral or emotional problems (39.1%), or due to poor health (22.6%).

Instrument

The PATI Scale was developed as a subset of a larger survey instrument designed to identify factors that influence parent perceptions of inclusive practices for their children with significant cognitive disabilities (Palmer et al., 1997). Rather than attempting to measure a global factor representing perceptions related to inclusion, the construction of the PATI Scale was based on the premise that parents' perceptions of inclusive practices are multidimensional. While there is a lack of existing attitudinal research specifically focusing on parents whose children display significant cognitive disabilities, previous research has documented the multidimensional nature of educators' attitudes toward the inclusion of students with mild (Semmel et al., 1991) or unspecified (Anotonak & Larrivee, 1995; Larrivee, 1992; Schmelkin, 1981; Wilczenski, 1992) disabilities into the general education classroom.

The 11 PATI Scale items were designed to delineate parent perceptions into three hypothesized dimensions: the impact of inclusive practices on (a) the quality of educational services the child with disabilities receives, (b) the general education students in the class where the inclusion takes place, and (c) the treatment and acceptance of the child with disabilities. Due to the unavailability of research dealing specifically with perceptions of parents whose children display significant cognitive delays, these components and individual PATI Scale question items were based on studies associated with the related topics of parent perceptions of (a) the placement of their children with severe (Hunt et al., 1993; McDonnell, 1987) or mild to moderate (Guralnick et al., 1995; Miller et al., 1992) disabilities into special education programs on general education campuses as opposed to segregated sites; (b) the integration of children with sensory impairments (Giangreco et al., 1991) or mild to moderate disabilities (Hayes & Gunn, 1988; Lowenbraun & Affleck, 1990; Mlynek et al., 1982) into general education classrooms; and (c) normalization and community placement practices (Ferrara, 1979; Larson & Lakin, 1991; Tausig, 1989; Thurman & Fiorelli, 1979)

The PATI Scale items were phrased to evoke general perceptions of the efficacy of general class placements for children with significant cognitive disabilities or to elicit perceptions regarding the effect of increasing the amount of time the child spends in these settings. For example, an item designed to assess parent perceptions of the impact of inclusive practices on acceptance and treatment of their child was worded, "The more time my child spends in a regular classroom, the more likely it is that he/she would end up feeling lonely or left out around the regular education students." Refer to Table 3 for a review of each of the 11 scale items. Directions for the completion of the PATI Scale were as follows: "The following questions ask how you feel about having your own child spend part or all of his or her day in a regular classroom. If your child is already mainstreamed, your answers will reflect your actual experience with the practice. If your child has never been mainstreamed, answer according to what you think may happen." The term "mainstreaming" was used in the scale due to probable familiarity with the word and possible unfamiliarity with the more recent phrase, "inclusion." Both positive and negative phrasing was used for the item statements and the order of presentation within the scale was randomly determined. Parents were asked to indicate whether they agreed with each statement presented by choosing one of six replies with "strongly disagree" and "strongly agree" anchors. For the purpose of analysis, negatively worded scale items were reversed scored so that positive attitudes were always reflected by higher item scores.

RESULTS

Each of the 11 PATI Scale item statements was examined to evaluate variability of responses, means, frequency distributions, and standard deviations. All items demonstrated considerable variability, and the item frequency distributions appeared to be approximately normal. As shown in columns 2 and 3 of Table 3, item means clustered around the midpoint (3.5) of the 1-6 rating scale, and the obtained standard deviations were relatively high, ranging from 1.40 to 1.76.

A principal components analysis was performed on the 11 PATI Scale items yielding 3 components with Eigenvalues above 1.0, lending support to the hypothesized three-dimensional structure of the scale. A Harris Kaiser oblique rotation factor analysis was then conducted on the 11 scale items in order to obtain a three-factor solution with optimal simple structure. The use of an oblique method of rotation was supported by an examination of the zero order correlation table associated with the 11 items that showed a moderate degree of interrelativeness among the variables, and an a priori expectation that parents who have more positive attitudes on one dimension are likely to have more positive attitudes on the other dimensions hypothesized.

The loadings of the PATI Scale items on the three components are shown in columns 4-6 of Table 3. The manifest three-factor pattern matrix approaches simple structure, with most items demonstrating moderate to high loadings on their respective factors and low loadings on the remaining two factors.

TABLE 3 Means, Standard Deviations, and Factor Loadings Associated with PA TI Scale Analysis

(a) Theoretical mean = 3.5. Negatively worded items were reversed scored so that the positive attitudes are always reflected by higher mean scores.

(b) Items are arranged under each factor according to strength of loading.

(c) Factor mean scores are contained within double parentheses.

Factor 1 was labeled "Quality of Educational Services." Four scale items defined this component with loadings ranging from .50 to .82. These items concerned the impact of inclusion the child's opportunities to receive a specialized curriculum and more individualized attention. A high score on this factor indicates that the parent believes the quality of his or her child's education will be preserved in a general education setting, with lower scores indicating that the parent has some reservations in this regard.

The second factor subsumed five variables, with loadings ranging from .62 to .77. The items defining this component emphasize parent perceptions of the social and educational benefits to general class students resulting from being exposed to a peer with significant disabilities, as well as the benefits that accrue to their own child resulting from the chance to socially connect with general class peers. Accordingly, this factor was labeled, "Mutual Benefits of Inclusion." This factor also includes an item that assesses parents' perceptions of the impact of inclusion on their child's quality of education. The high loading of this item suggests that parents tend to view the perceived mutual benefits of inclusive placements as more meaningful indicators of their child's overall quality of education than such characteristics as opportunities for a specialized curriculum and more individualized attention as measured by Factor 1. A high score on Factor 2 demonstrates positive feelings regarding the mutual benefits of inclusion.

The third factor was termed "Child Acceptance and Treatment." Two items loaded highly on this component (.56 and .72), with both assessing parents' perceptions that their child might feel lonely or be mistreated by other students in the general education classroom. Higher scores on this component indicate a relative lack of fear that the child would be mistreated or isolated as a result of increased inclusion, and lower scores reflect parental concerns that such problems may occur.

Internal consistency was assessed for each obtained factor using Cronbach's coefficient alpha. As shown in parentheses following each factor heading in Table 3, the reliabilities were 'a = .80, `a = .82, and `a = .66 for the three factors respectively. The reliabilities for the first two components were clearly adequate, while the reliability for the third factor was acceptable, but lower, probably due to the fact that only two items comprised this scale. Additional analysis found moderate correlation among the factor scores, with the highest correlation (.73) between Factors 1 and 2 and the lowest correlation (.36) between Factors 2 and 3.

As a further indication of the existence of the unique dimensional attributes related to the obtained factors, t-test procedures for dependent variables were conducted on the mean factor scores presented in Table 3. The means of all three PATI Scale factors were found to be significantly different (p [is greater than] .0001) from the means obtained on the remaining two factors.

A consideration of the obtained factor means leads to some general conclusions. Parents of students with significant cognitive disabilities are more positive regarding mutual benefits (Factor 2: M = 4.01) and acceptance and treatment (Factor 3: M = 3.62) of their child resulting from the proximity afforded by inclusive practices and least positive regarding the impact of inclusion on opportunities for a specialized curriculum and individualized attention (Factor 1: M = 2.80).

DISCUSSION

The presence of considerable variability in PATI Scale item responses and confirmation of the multidimensionality of parent attitudes toward inclusive practices reveals the subjective and phenomenological nature of the reasoning process a parent undergoes when considering educational placement options. This information suggests that parents can be expected to have varying views regarding inclusive placement options based on a broad range of interacting variables rather than on a singular determinant, such as the cognitive profile of their child. Practitioners may gain some insight into this complicated reasoning process through a consideration of the present study findings in relation to existing views regarding curricular emphasis and inclusion.

It has been suggested that curricular emphasis found in programs for students with severe disabilities has historically shifted from remedial academic instruction and functional life skill development to the development of friendships or social skills between people with disabilities and their nondisabled peers (Hamre-Nietupski, Nietupski, & Strathe, 1992), and that those who advocate for the placement of all students into general education classrooms often view such social goals as their primary concern (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994). Empirical data (Palmer et al., 1997) have also shown that parents of children with significant cognitive disabilities are more likely to have positive perceptions of inclusive practices when they place a relatively higher value on the school's role in developing social skills. An examination of the PATI Scale factor score means obtained in the present study further indicates that parents of children with significant cognitive disabilities are relatively positive regarding the social outcomes of general class placements, and relatively apprehensive regarding the impact of such placements on the quality of educational services their children receive.

It may then be that parents who share the inclusionist view of the relative importance of socialization are those who would tend to favor general class placements for their children. These parents are less likely to be concerned with any perceived negative effects regarding the impact of inclusion on their child's ability to receive specialized services. Parents who place a higher value on the development of social skills may be willing to trade off "special education" benefits such as: (a) a specialized curriculum, (b) easier access to ancillary services, and (c) more individualized instruction, for the social benefits that they consider to be more attainable in a general education setting. In sum, parent perceptions of inclusive practices may be largely a function of the value placed on particular curricular skills and beliefs regarding where those skills can best be nurtured.

It is interesting to note that preferences regarding curricular focus have also formed the basis of arguments made by advocacy groups representing students with mild to moderate disabilities who have come out against the concept of full inclusion for all students. Many of these groups have denounced the full inclusion position in part because they are primarily concerned with the school's role in the remediation of academic skills, which they believe can best be achieved through access to a continuum of placement options (Borthwick-Duffy et al., 1996).

Future Research

Researchers can use the PATI Scale to assess parent perceptions regarding inclusive models of placement and to better understand the subjective dynamics and underlying influences on different dimensions of such perceptions. The practice of integrating students with severe disabilities into general education classrooms is relatively new, and little empirical research has been done in the area. Ideally, it would be beneficial to have information regarding actual student outcomes associated with placement in programs offering varying levels of inclusion.

Before the results of such a study can be meaningful, however, it will be necessary to identify, and control for, variables that are more immediate or substantive than time spent in the general education class. Under these conditions, longitudinal studies that consider both the short-and long-term effects of different models of service delivery could provide parents and educators with important information when considering the most appropriate program for a particular child. The PATI Scale factor scores may be used as preand posttest measures to assess the effects of exposure to such programs on parent attitudes and support.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE

Consideration of the complex dynamics underlying parent preferences regarding inclusive placement options underscores the need to encourage family involvement when considering such programs for an individual child. Parents can be expected to hold strong and often divergent beliefs about the efficacy of inclusive placements based on perceptions of how these programs will specifically impact their own child. The PATI Scale can be used by practitioners to encourage family input and to better understand the reasoning used by individual parents when considering inclusive programming. Having specific information regarding different dimensions of parent perceptions should help school personnel to better appreciate, and possibly address, parent concerns when considering placement options for their children. For example, if scale results indicate that a parent is apprehensive regarding the impact of inclusion on the quality of their child's educational services (Factor 1), school personnel can collaborate with this parent to identify ways to address this concern before the placement is considered further.

The PATI Scale can also be used for program planning purposes. For example, those working to begin or expand inclusion programs for students with significant cognitive disabilities can use the scale to identify parents who would be most receptive to such placements for their children.

As stated earlier, it cannot be assumed that all parents whose children demonstrate significant cognitive disabilities, or any other characteristic, share the same values regarding the school's role or curricular emphasis. It is also true that the level of inclusion into the general education classroom is only one dimension of a child's school experience, and the amount of time spent in these settings will not solely determine parent satisfaction with their child's school program. As has been previously shown (Giangreco et al., 1991.; Green & Shinn, 1994), parent satisfaction regarding school programs is most strongly related to such subjective and amorphous determinants as the presence of caring teachers and the child's sense of well-being. Those who advocate for a specific model of educational service delivery must endeavor to make such programs attractive to parents by emphasizing the development of such qualitatively meaningful components.

REFERENCES

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Lipski, D. K. (1989). The role of parents. In D. K. Lipski & A. Gartner (Eds.), Beyond separate education: Quality education for all (pp. 159-179). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.(*)

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Nietupski, J., & Hamre-Nietupski, S. (1987). An ecological approach to curriculum development. In L. Goetz, D. Guess, & K. Stremel-Campbell (Eds.), Innovative program design for students with dual sensory impairments (pp. 225-253). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Palmer, D. S., Borthwick-Duffy, S. A., Widaman, K., & Best, S. (1997). Influences on parent perceptions of inclusive practices for their children with severe cognitive disabilities. Manuscript submitted for publication.

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Sharpe, M. N., York, J. L., & Knight, J. (1994). Effects of inclusion on the academic performance of classmates without disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 15, 281-287.

Staub, D., & Hunt, P. (1993). The effects of social interaction training on high school peer tutors of schoolmates with severe disabilities. Exceptional Children, 60, 641-57.

Tausig, M. (1989). Factors in family decision making about placement for developmentally disabled individuals. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 89, 352-361.

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Turnbull, A. P., & Turnbull, H. R. (1990). Families, professionals, and exceptionality: A special partnership (2nd ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill.(*)

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(*) To order books referenced in this journal, please call 24 hrs/365 days: (800) BOOKS-NOW (266-5766) or (702) 258-3338, ask for ext. 1213, or visit them on the web at http://www.BooksNow.com/Exceptional Children.htm. Use Visa, M/C, or AMEX or send check or money order + $4.95 S&H ($2.50 each add'l item) to: Books Now, 6600 W. Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas, NV89102.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

DAVID S. PALMER, (CEC 538), Assistant Professor, Charter School of Education, Division of Special Education, California State University, Los Angeles. SHARON A. BORTHWICKDUFFY, Professor, School of Education; and KEITH WIDAMAN, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside.

Correspondence concerning this article and requests for a copy of the PATI Scale should be addressed to David S. Palmer, at the Charter School of Education, Division of Special Education, California State University, Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, California 90032-8144. E-mail may be sent to WSYQ20A@prodigy.com.

This study was funded in part by Grant N. HD22953 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Manuscript received August 1996; revision accepted June 1997.
TABLE 1
Sample Characteristics of Parents Responding

Parent Characteristics           % of Total Sample

Relation to Child
 Mother                                70.0
 Father                                18.7
 Other (e.g., group home
  supervisor, relative)                11.3

Ethnic Identity
 Asian American                         9.1
 Black/African American                 5.4
 Hispanic/Latin/American               17.6
 White/Euro-American                   62.6
 Other/No response                      5.2

Level of Education
 No formal education                    1.3
 Elementary school                      2.0
 Some high school                       4.8
 High school diploma or GED            15.7
 Some college                          31.5
 College degree: 2-Year degree         11.5
 College degree: 4-Year degree         14.3
 Graduate work                         17.6
 No response to question                1.3


TABLE 2
Sample Characteristics of Children

Child Characteristics                            % of Total Sample

Gender

 Male                                                   58.0
 Female                                                 42.0

Hours currently spent in
general education setting

 0                                                      67.9
 1 to2                                                  22.6
 3 or more                                               9.5

Age Range

 3 to 5                                                 20.7
 6 to 8                                                 19.1

Age Range

  9 to 11                                               15.9
 12 to 14                                               16.3
 15 to 17                                               13.9
 18 to 20                                               10.8
 21 to 23                                                3.3
 Mean Age                                               11.3

Those demonstrating characteristics requiring
specialized school services

 Unable to walk                                         22.0

 Walks only with help or walks unsteadily               22.4

 Is not toilet trained at all                           39.1

 Has toilet accidents during the day                    28.1

 Has seizures                                           22.8

 Requires special equipment for mobility                35.4

 Takes medication during the day                        20.4

 Needs medical or quasi-medical procedures to           12.2
 be performed during the day

 Needs to be monitored for behavioral or                39.1
 emotional problems

 Needs close supervision during the day due to          22.6
 poor health or physical condition


Factor Identity (Coefficient Alpha)

                                                       Item Loadings

                                      M        SD         I
Factor 1: Quality of
Educational Services (.80)

If my child were to spend much
of the day in a regular
classroom, he/she would end up
not getting all the necessary
special services that would be
provided in a special
education classroom.               2.66(a)     1.57    .819(b)

If my child were to spend a
lot of time in a regular
classroom, he/she would end up
not getting the extra help he/
she needs.                         2.67        1.55    .790

It is impossible to modify
most lessons and materials in
a regular classroom to truly
meet the needs of my child.        2.98        1.75    .651

A regular education classroom
provides more meaningful
opportunities for my child to
learn than does a special
education classroom.               2.88        1.60    .502

                                 ((2.80))(c)

Factor 2: Mutual Benefits of
Inclusion (.82)

The quality of a regular
education student's education
is enriched when a student
with severe disabilities
participates in his/her class.     4.37        1.40   -.104

When a student with severe
disabilities is enrolled in a
regular education classroom,
the positive benefits to the
regular education students
outweigh any possible problems
that this practice may
present.                           3.79        1.50   -.117

The more time my child spends
in a regular classroom, the
more likely it is that he/she
will be treated kindly by the
nondisabled students in that
room.                              4.16        1.40   -.196

The more time my child spends
in a regular classroom, the
more likely it is that the
quality of his/her education
will improve.                      3.55        1.76    .342

If my child were to spend much
of his/her day in a regular
classroom, he/she would end up
becoming friends with
nondisabled students in that
room.                              4.16        1.52    .032

                                 ((4.01))

Factor 3 Child Acceptance and
Treatment (.66)

The more time my child spends
in a regular classroom, the
more likely it is that he/she
will be mistreated by other
nondisabled students in that
mom.                               3.61        3.61   -.001

The more time my child spends
in a regular classroom, the
more likely it is that he/she
would end up feeling lonely or
left out around the regular
education students.                3.63        1.54    .189

                                 ((3.62))

                                 II      III

Factor 1: Quality of
Educational Services (.80)

If my child were to spend much
of the day in a regular
classroom, he/she would end up
not getting all the necessary
special services that would be
provided in a special
education classroom.             -.123    .027

If my child were to spend a
lot of time in a regular
classroom, he/she would end up
not getting the extra help he/
she needs.                       -.090    .010

It is impossible to modify
most lessons and materials in
a regular classroom to truly
meet the needs of my child.       .030    .061

A regular education classroom
provides more meaningful
opportunities for my child to
learn than does a special
education classroom.              .428   -2.63

Factor 2: Mutual Benefits of
Inclusion (.82)

The quality of a regular
education student's education
is enriched when a student
with severe disabilities
participates in his/her class.    .770    .052

When a student with severe
disabilities is enrolled in a
regular education classroom,
the positive benefits to the
regular education students
outweigh any possible problems
that this practice may
present.                          .773    .067

The more time my child spends
in a regular classroom, the
more likely it is that he/she
will be treated kindly by the
nondisabled students in that
room.                             .690    .270

The more time my child spends
in a regular classroom, the
more likely it is that the
quality of his/her education
will improve.                     .623   -.183

If my child were to spend much
of his/her day in a regular
classroom, he/she would end up
becoming friends with
nondisabled students in that
room.                             .621    .053

Factor 3 Child Acceptance and
Treatment (.66)

The more time my child spends
in a regular classroom, the
more likely it is that he/she
will be mistreated by other
nondisabled students in that
mom.                              .002    .722

The more time my child spends
in a regular classroom, the
more likely it is that he/she
would end up feeling lonely or
left out around the regular
education students.               .051    .561
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