When does someone become exposed or falls victim to stigma? While there might not be a set time or reason that stigma might occur, there are ways to prevent it. A study I found is all about the prevention of stigma of those with intellectual disabilities by teaching inclusion at a young age. Childhood is when we learn most of our basic knowledge that we apply to more complex situations or objects as adults. It seems like a no-brainer to teach children why others might be different than them early on then. For some reason, schools don’t teach children about intellectual disabilities until about seventh or eighth grade. This is too late for most kids because by that time, they have been around someone with an intellectual disability already and most likely have their own opinions about them. These opinions could be easily influenced by the way a child interprets their interaction with a peer with disabilities.
The study, Young Children’s Attitudes Toward Peers with Intellectual Disabilities: Effect of the Type of School is a helpful article for everyone to understand. The purpose of this study is to look at the attitudes of peers towards those with intellectual disabilities and if the school they attend influence these attitudes. In the two schools I went to, some of the disabled kids would be in my classes with an aid there to help them but usually, they were in a different classroom all together. The way this study did their research was by having kids complete a questionnaire and an adjective list and also draw a child with intellectual disabilities along with comments on their own drawings. By doing this, it gave a lot of room for the children to really show their thoughts and views of their peers with disabilities. They found that attitudes tended to be neutral and that the inclusive school kids had even more positive things to say about those with intellectual disabilities. I think that there should be more education at a younger age about what disabilities are, both physical and intellectual. This can help prevent future stigma since a lot of stigmas stem from misunderstandings and lack of experience. I highly suggest looking into this study to everyone, because stigma can be prevented.