Anderson, C., Niewoehner-Green, J., & Scheer, S. (2021). Extension professionals’ attitudes, self-efficacy, and perceptions of inclusion for 4-H youth with disabilities. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(3), 20-33.https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.03020
The 4-H Youth Development program prohibits all forms of discrimination which includes disability. 4-H Extension professionals provide the essential interface between Extension and the local community to create an inclusive environment for all youth, including those with disabilities, that is welcoming and accessible. Attitudes and self-efficacy for working with youth who have disabilities impacts how well 4-H delivers positive youth development programs. The purpose of this study was to determine state-wide 4-H Extension professionals’ attitudes, self-efficacy, and perceptions of inclusion toward youth with disabilities. In addition, the researchers sought to examine their use of a training program to better serve youth with disabilities. All 4-H Extension professionals in [STATE] were surveyed (N = 135) with 71 responding (response rate of 53%). Results indicated the attitudes of Extension professionals for accepting of and feeling comfortable around youth with disabilities was overwhelmingly positive. They also perceived that youth with disabilities felt that they were included in 4-H activities. For self-efficacy, 4-H professionals reported they could effectively provide inclusive opportunities for youth with disabilities and adapt their level of instruction, take extra time, and pay attention to the needs of youth with disabilities. However, about a third of the respondents somewhat or strongly agreed that their workload would increase by having youth with disabilities in their organization. The disability training program was used by over three-fourths of the 4-H professionals and helped them to engage with parents to learn more about their children with disabilities. The program also improved accommodations and creating a more inclusive 4-H environment.