04 SES 09 A, Predictors of Social Inclusion
Previous research believes that the attitudes of peers towards classmates with special educational needs (SEN) play a crucial role in the peer acceptance and friendships of students with SEN (e.g.,Okagaki et al., 1998). However, there is a lack of knowledge about the actual relationship between these variables. In this study, the link is assessed between the attitudes of 1926 typically developing classmates and the peer acceptance and friendships of 147 students with SEN in mainstream 7th grade. Sociometric nominations were used to tap into peer acceptance and friendships. A revised version of the CATCH was used to assess attitudes (Bossaert et al., 2013). Results showed that attitudes towards students with SEN on the level of the classroom as well as on the level of the individual classmate were linked to peer acceptance and friendships. However, this link was not found in the group of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In classes with a more positive attitude towards students with SEN, students with ASD were nominated less often as a friend. Implications of these results will be discussed.
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