Council for Exceptional Children, Volume 80, #@, Winter 2014, pages 136-148, Dunst.
Findings from a meta-analysis of 26 studies investigating the effects of either “Kids on the Block” or “Count Me In” puppet shows in elementary students’ attitudes toward & knowledge of individuals with disabilities are reported. Results indicated that the puppet shows had small to medium effects on changes in participants’ attitudes & knowledge. Many different types of intervention have been used to influence changes in the attitudes toward & knowledge of individuals with disabilities. Types of intervention aimed at changing attitudes include:
increased personal contact individuals with & without disabilities; promote accurate understanding of individuals with disabilities; the use of participatory experiences to engage individuals with & without disabilities; interpersonal skill & empathy-related training; engage children without disabilities in simulations of disabling conditions. Mutually interesting cooperative activities between individuals with & without disabilities were most effective in fostering positive attitudes!
Puppetry can teach large numbers of students at a relatively low cost. The typical puppet show lasts about 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute question & answer period. Students in grades 1 to 7 participated in the study. The results of the study involving puppet shows showed that they had a small effect on changes in the students’ attitudes & a small to medium effect on changes in the students’ knowledge of individuals with disabilities. The influences of the changes in students’ attitudes was more pronounced in grades 1 & 2 as compared with grades 3 through 6. Results indicate that puppet shows are an effective intervention, but for lasting effects, the puppet show should be utilized as an introductory experience to set the stage for additional experiences & opportunities.