Effects of High-Incidence Disability Labels on the Expectations of Teachers, Peers, and College Students

Renee L. Thelen, Matthew K. Burns, Neil D. Christiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although it is well established that applying disability labels to children results in lower expectations from teachers and peers, less is known about the specific effects of different labels. In this study, 409 participants from different backgrounds (high school students, college students, and teachers) read a vignette of a child described without disability or with 1 of 3 labels (learning disability, mild mental retardation, or emotional disturbance) and completed a brief survey assessing interpersonal, behavioral, and academic expectations. Results indicated that expectations were less favorable in the behavioral and academic areas but more favorable in the interpersonal domain when the child had a disability label. The emotional disturbance label tended to result in more negative expectations than did the learning disability or mild mental retardation labels. The effects of labeling on the expectations of elementary and secondary school teachers were also shown to differ, as did the academic and interpersonal expectations of the participant groups. Implications for future research and the delivery of educational services are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
JournalEthical Human Sciences and Services
Volume5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

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