There are currently an estimated 93 million children with disabilities in the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report each year that 1 in every 700 babies is born with Down syndrome. Yet in spite of the enormity of numbers, they remain one of the most marginalized groups in society. Discrimination, negative attitudes, inadequate healthcare, and segregated education systems effectively bar differently abled children from realizing their full potential. This study uses a single-subject case study of one spectacular sport event involving one child with Down syndrome. It is framed by Vygotsky’s "zone of proximal development" (ZPD) theory, which suggests that social interaction, adult guidance, and peer collaboration, can support development that exceeds what can be attained alone. A thematic analysis was used to measure differences in recurring themes among three separate sources of data including (1) online YouTube video comments, (2) written correspondence, and (3) focus group interviews. Four emerging themes including servant leadership (31%), happiness (27%) inclusion (20%), and community (17%), were most frequently identified. However, significant differences in frequencies of thematic responses were noted between the three sources of data. Findings support past research that has found comparative differences between participants and observers in how one relates to people and scenarios. Observers are likely to remove themselves from “understanding” an experience, and may be less likely to feel the full spectrum of human emotion and character. This unintentional yet impactful event points to the power and mystery of how a person’s influence can extend much further than their immediate community, but to external observers from the wider world. Findings also confirm the role of Servant Leadership, Community, and Inclusion as critical for reshaping attitudes and assuring equity across policies and programs so that children who are differently abled can reach their full potential.
|Commitee:||Robins, Lynne, Wilson, Sandi|
|School Location:||United States -- Washington|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Disability studies, Social psychology|
|Keywords:||Community, Difference, Disability, Down syndrome, Inclusion, Servant leadership|
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