This small-scale study, conducted in Cyprus, considers issues of friendship by exploring the views of children (aged 6–8 years) without disabilities towards peers with physical disabilities. Participants were interviewed with the use of images depicting children with physical disabilities and were asked to justify their friendship, express their feelings and estimate the feelings of unfamiliar children in wheelchairs. It was found that friendships between typically developing children and peers with disabilities are regularly formed on the basis of children’s understandings, attitudes and feelings towards peers with disabilities that appear to mirror the societal stereotypes to disability and arise from the social environment in which children are growing up. In order to encourage children’s sensitivity and understanding towards social inclusion for their peers with disabilities, there is a need for children to have better and more insightful understandings of diversity, social inclusion and acceptance through first hand experiences.
- physical disability
- Social inclusion