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  Perceptions of Children with Disabilities  2014 INTRODUCTION  A child is a special individual that has the right to fully engage in family, cultural, and social life. A child also has the right to be given treatment, education and care respective of his or her physical, mental, or social “handicap”. However, not all children with disability get to exercise these rights completely due to the influence of how their friends, classmates, and family think about them and their situation. Society nowadays may be better informed yet many still have misconceptions or even negative notions of children with disability. isability, as defined under the !orld Health rgani#ation$s %nternational &lassification of 'unctioning, isability and Health (%&') , is a term that encompasses “impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions”. *he !H also defined disability as an interplay of the individual$s health condition along with personal and environmental factors.  According to the +- ational Statistics ffice &ensus of /opulation and Housing, -0 out of - 'ilipinos have disability. *he census also showed that disability was highest among individuals from 1 to -2 years old while - out of 1 persons with disability (/!) was between the ages 3-4 years. 5  *his shows that care and treatment for those children should be improved all the more. *his age range is also crucial in a child$s psychosocial development. *he first five stages in 6rik 6rikson$s *heory of /sychosocial evelopment showed that the crises that children must resolve will strongly contribute to how well they establish their identity (&ross, +-). %f the crises for each stage are not resolved, children might develop maladaptive behaviors such as impulsivity and obsession. *eachers and familymembers are 7ust some adult figures that can help children gear towards the positive Swaney Ann C. Dee 2003-02685Pae 1  Perceptions of Children with Disabilities  2014 disposition of each stage of psychosocial development. !ith their help, children will be able toestablish an identity that is emotionally and socially well3rounded and flexible. 'or children with disability, however, finding guidance from other people may not be so easy. Although disability awareness programs are being implemented in schools and communities, some studies show that these programs only improve the participants$ knowledge, attitude and acceptance of disability in the short term, if there is any positive influence at all (%son,, +-). %nteraction with other children in school, the neighborhood, and other clubs may also affect the self3perception of children with disability (&han, +-+). *his paper aims to find out the attitudes of children towards their disabilities along with their interactions with others when they are at home, in school, or in other groups. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE &hildren view events and situations in a different light than adults do. *hey are still in the process of going through the ad7ustments and adaptive behaviors that they will need when they transition to adulthood. *here are also expectations from children as they go through the stages of life. %n Sigmund 'reud$s /sychosexual Stages of evelopment, children0 years old onwards are supposed to develop social and communication skills, self3confidence. 'or 6rik 6rikson$s /sychosocial evelopment *heory, children aged 03-8 are becoming more aware of themselves as individuals and they are figuring out their identities and their role in society (Harmon 9 :ones, +1). *heir personal development depends on the outcomes of the crises. 'or children with disability, however, moving to the positive side of the spectrum and learning adaptive behaviors might re;uire more effort compared to other Swaney Ann C. Dee 2003-02685Pae 2  Perceptions of Children with Disabilities  2014 children without disability. 6rikson$s /sychosocial Stage of %ndustry vs. %nferiority poses that if children do not develop the attitude of recogni#ing their achievements or achieving success, they may fear failure and feel inferior to others (Huck, <emp 9 &arter, +-). !ith these stages in mind, families and other support groups of children with disabilities strive to help them have a more positive concept of themselves.%nteraction with other people affect children$s concepts of themselves. &hildren not onlyinteract with the people around them but also with the people$s perceptions of them and their disability. /eople, in general, are continually affected by what they see and how others act toward us (/hemister 9 &rewe, +4). =nfortunately, information dissemination and knowledge about different types of disabilities are not thoroughly reinforced. 'or example, in astudy done by owicki (+>) regarding the beliefs of children on learning and physical disabilities, children aged 13- years old expressed their belief that learning difficulties are temporary and can be controlled or even $solved$ over time if only the children with learning difficulties put in more effort in their sub7ects.  n the other hand, some studies show that children with disabilities do not feel that they are “different” until a certain age. ?uble (-285) reported that social comparison only develops in children between the ages > and 2. @y then, these children would have started going to school and interacting with other children, parents, teachers, and other school staff. /eople who have not been given enough relevant information regarding disabilities, or who may have different perceptions on disabilities because of factors like culture, may view children with disabilities in a different light. *he children may start comparing themselves with their peers and may notice differences between them and their peers. *hey may be more Swaney Ann C. Dee 2003-02685Pae 3  Perceptions of Children with Disabilities  2014 aware of the different “labels” and stereotypes that are connected with their disabilities. Some studies showed that being aware of the negative labels and stereotypes associated with their disabilities significantly affects the children$s experiences and performance in school (/olychroni, <oukoura 9 Anagnostou, +0).How they identify with the people around them, how they overcome possible stigma and negative labels, and how they handle their disabilities all play a role on whether they see themselves in a positive or a negative light. METHODOLOGY  A semi3structured interview was done via phone on three children with disabilities. *heir diagnoses are as follows (pseudonyms are given to protect their privacy)   :ules is a -53year3old boy diagnosed with atypical autism. He goes to a special education school.   aisy is an 83year3old girl diagnosed with atypical autism and is being observed for developmental delays. She attends a special education school.   :oan is an 83year3old girl diagnosed with dyslexia is being observed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She goes to a mainstream school with an inclusive setting. :ules and aisy had to be guided by their parents in answering some of the ;uestions. 'or ;uestions where they gave vague answers, the parents sometimes explained or elaborated the children$s answers. Some ;uestions also had to be repeated by their parents in order to get their attention. :oan, however, did not need her parents$ help in understanding and Swaney Ann C. Dee 2003-02685Pae 4
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