Social and emotional adjustment of physically handicapped children at ordinary and special schools
O'Moore, Astrid Mona
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This thesis forms an exploratory study the purpose of which is to clarify the nature of relationships existing between the social and emotional adjustment of physically handicapped children and the type of school attended. The subjects, 114 children of from nine to eleven years of age, of normal intelligence and with visible physical handicaps affecting movement, were drawn from three types of school: (a) ordinary day, (b) special day, and (c) special residential. A matched sample of 114 normal children attending both ordinary and residential schools formed the control groups. The children were interviewed individually ana various psychological tests administered, i.e. verbal and non-verbal, intelligence, school attainment, adjustment and personality characteristics, attitudes to school and child-family relationships. The teachers estimated social adjustments in children while the parents' attitudes to child-rearing and the attitudes of normal children in ordinary schools to the physically handicapped were also examined. The results obtained show interesting trends. There were no statistically significant differences in the overall social and emotional adjustment of physically handicapped children at the three types of school. Physically handicapped children at ordinary day schools had higher educational attainments than had children at special schools. Differences were not found between the social and emotional adjustment of physically handicapped children and their controls. However, only the physically handicapped attending ordinary day schools achieved the same educationallevel as did the controls. On the basis of these findings, it is concluded that neither integration nor segregation is superior in ensuring the optimal psychological development of physically handicapped children. On the other hand, at the present time and bearing in mind the limitations of this study, the ordinary day school seems to be more successful in promoting the higher level of scholastic achievement. Accordingly, it is suggested that there should be increased integration between the physically handicapped and the normal. The provisions essential for such integration are outlined. It is advised that special schools should be retained in modified form. The modifications necessary to promote optimum personal and educational development are discussed.