Counselor Attitudes Toward Persons Who are Blind or Visually Impaired A National Counslor Study

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Title: Counselor Attitudes Toward Persons Who are Blind or Visually Impaired A National Counslor Study
Author: Walker, Charles L.
Advisors: Craig C. Brookins, Ph.D., Committee Member
Edwin R. Gerler, Jr., D.Ed., Committee Co-Chair
Jose A. Picart, Ph.D., Committee Co-Chair
Stanley B. Baker, Ph.D., Committee Member
Abstract: ABSTRACT WALKER, CHARLES LEON. Counselor Attitudes Toward Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired A National Counselor Study. (Under the direction of Dr. Edwin R. Gerler, Jr. and Dr. Jose A. Picart.) This national counselor study was an investigation of counselor attitudes toward persons who are blind or visually impaired. The preparedness of counselors in training, to work with persons who are blind or visually impaired, was assessed. There were 300 counselors in training, enrolled in CACREP approved counselor education programs, across the nation that participated in this online investigation. The Attitudes Toward Disabled Persons Scale (ATDP-B) and the Contact with Disabled Persons Scale (CDP) were the instruments used in this study. The professional literature associated with blindness and disability was reviewed. Among all of the disabilities, blindness is considered to be the most severe and feared condition (Ferguson, 2001; Tringo, 1970). Historically, sighted people have associated the condition of blindness with some moral culpability, fault, or defect within persons who are blind. The cultural epistemology of the sighted understanding about blindness and blind people has been negative across the eons, from ancient times unto the present (Ferguson, 2001; Saramago, 1997). According to Sue, Arredondo, and McDavis (1992), counselors may form initial impressions of their clients early in the clinical process and these impressions are resistant to change. Overall, these findings showed that counselors in training in this study, held negative attitudes towards and had little to no contact with members of the blind or visually impaired population, ATDP-B mean 63.13 and CDP mean 36.39. There was no correlation between attitude scores and contact scores for counselors in training as associated with those who live with vision loss, p=.164. The lack of education about blindness, visual impairment and persons who live with vision loss, may also be one of the most important findings and opportunities in this study. Counselors, who hold negative attitudes towards potential client populations, may impair their own prescience. Blinded by negative attitudes towards these individuals, they may not see the hope and the glory of blind and visually impaired people.
Date: 2008-12-03
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Counselor Education

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