Vermonters with different types of disabilities have different attitudes about disability.

 

 

The Vermonter Poll

We polled 632 Vermonters to learn how much they agreed with four statements:

  • People with disabilities have the same quality of life as people without disabilities.
  • People with disabilities can contribute to Vermont’s labor force the same as people without disabilities.
  • Students with disabilities benefit from being in the same classrooms as students without disabilities.
  • Students without disabilities benefit from being in the same classrooms as students with disabilities.

Only Vermont residents over the age of 18 could participate.

 

Results

Most Vermonters who completed the survey agreed:

  • People with disabilities have a LOWER quality of life

  • When students with and without disabilities are in class together ALL students benefit

  • People with disabilities contribute EQUALLY to the labor force.

But we also found that Vermonters with different types of disabilities have different attitudes about disability.

 

Of the 632 Vermonters surveyed:

65% DISAGREE with the statement that people with disabilities have the same quality of life.

 

 

A bar graph showing that most people surveyed agreed with the statement that people with disabilities have a lower quality of life.

People taking the survey were asked: "Do you agree with the statement, 'People with disabilities have the same quality of life as people without disabilities.’”

  • 18% of the people who agreed had no disabilities.
  • 21% of the people who agreed reported that they had sensory disabilities.
  • 9% who agreed had functional disabilities.
  • 10% who agreed had multiple disabilities. 

 

Most people did not agree that people with disabilities have the same quality of life as people without disabilities. But:

  • Both people with functional disabilities and people with multiple disabilities agreed the least.

 

72% AGREE that people with disabilities contribute equally to the workforce.

 

A bar graph showing that most people agree that people with disabilities contribute equally to the workforce.

People taking the survey were asked: "Do you agree with the statement, 'People with disabilities can contribute to Vermont’s labor force the same as people without disabilities.'"

  • 74% who agreed had no disabilities.
  • 84% who agreed had sensory disabilities.
  • 39% who agreed had functional disabilities.
  • 70% who agreed had multiple disabilities.

Most people agree that people with disabilities contribute equally to the workforce. But:

  • People with sensory disabilities agreed the most and

  • People with functional disabilities agreed the least.

 

Most people AGREE that both students with and without disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom.

 

A bar graph showing that most people agree that all students benefit when disabled students are included in the classroom.

People taking the survey were asked: "Do you agree with the statement, 'Students with disabilities benefit from being in the same classrooms as students without disabilities.'"

  • Of people with no disabilities, 68% agreed that students WITH disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom as students without disabilities. 74% agreed that students WITHOUT disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom as students with disabilities.
  • Of people with sensory disabilities, 72% agreed that students WITH disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom as students without disabilities. 68% agreed students WITHOUT disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom as students with disabilities.
  • Of people with functional disabilities, 79% agreed students WITH disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom as students without disabilities. 82% agreed students WITHOUT disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom as students with disabilities.
  • Of people with multiple disabilities, 55% agreed students WITH disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom as students without disabilities. 58% agreed students WITHOUT disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom as students with disabilities. 

Most people agree that both students with and without disabilities benefit from being in the same classroom together. But:

  • People with functional disabilities agreed the most and

  • People with multiple disabilities agreed the least.

 

 

Who answered The Vermonter Poll?

How many people who answered this survey were people with disabilities? And how does that compare with the percentages of people with disabilities all across Vermont, and nationwide?

People with disabilities across USA, Vermont, and our poll.

Serious difficulties in:USAVTPOLLDisability Types*:
Hearing3.6%4.6%3.8%} Sensory
Vision2.5%2.0%0.7%
Cognition5.4%6.0%8.2%} Functional
Ambulatory6.6%5.7%5.7%
Self-Care2.5%2.2%1.8%
Independent Living5.8%5.5%2.9%} Independent Living**
TOTAL13%14%16% 

 

*Disability types constructed from 2021 Census data.

**Too few to include.

 

Why is this research important?

Stigmatizing attitudes about disability can be barriers to equity and inclusion (Gould et al., 2015, Mayerson, 1991). Learning about people’s attitudes can show where education and change are needed.

Research studies have shared findings related to attitudes about disability.

  • 82% of physicians in a recent survey said people with significant disabilities have a worse quality of life (Iezzoni et al., 2021). And less than half felt very confident that could provide the same quality of care for people with disabilities.
  • A study in France found less support for students with intellectual disabilities to be included in school compared to students with other disabilities (Jury et al., 2021).
  • In China, a study found caregivers of people with disabilities had more negative attitudes than people with disabilities (Zheng et al., 2016).

 

 

 

What would you ask to understand people's attitudes about disability?

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Text: Research

Contact the Authors

Jesse Suter

 

Jesse C. Suter

(He/Him)

CDCI Executive director


 

Justin MH Salisbury: a mixed race man with pale features, in his early thirties, wearing wire-framed glasses and a flat cap, smiles confidently at the camera, holding a white cane against his shoulder.

Justin M. H. Salisbury

(He/Him)

Graduate research assistant

 

 

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References

  • Gould, R., Harris, S. P., Caldwell, K., Fujiura, G., Jones, R., Ojok, P., & Enriquez, K. P. (2015). Beyond the law: a review of knowledge, attitudes and perceptions in ADA employment research. Disability Studies Quarterly, 35(3).
  • Iezzoni, L. I., Rao, S. R., Ressalam, J., Bolcic-Jankovic, D., Agaronnik, N. D., Donelan, K., ... & Campbell, E. G. (2021). Physicians’ Perceptions Of People With Disability And Their Health Care: Study reports the results of a survey of physicians' perceptions of people with disability. Health Affairs, 40(2), 297-306.
  • Jury, M., Khamzina, K., Perrin, A. L., Serour, N., & Guichardaz, E. (2021). What does the French public think about inclusive education?. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, 46(4), 362-369.
  • Mayerson, A. (1991). Title I-Employment provisions of the Americans with disabilities act. Temple Law Review, 64, 499.
  • Zheng, Q., Tian, Q., Hao, C. et al. (2016). Comparison of attitudes toward disability and people with disability among caregivers, the public, and people with disability: Findings from a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health 16, 1024 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3670-0