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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2018 Abstracts

Disability Awareness Using the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award

Kimberly Tarnasky, Kelli Egan, Brigham Young University

The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award recognizes authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that authentically portray individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), intellectual disabilities, and Down syndrome. The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award was created to make an impact toward the general public’s recognition of the positive societal contributions of individuals with developmental disabilities, greater understanding and acceptance of teachers and school-aged peers of students with developmental disabilities, and encouragement of authors and illustrators to publish quality literature including characters with developmental disabilities. Eleven picture books and 27 youth and adolescent chapter books were found to be eligible for the award, and were analyzed. Preliminary results indicate a high proportion of characters with ASD compared to other developmental disabilities, almost twice as many males as females, and almost all characters who are Caucasian. Additional content analyses will be conducted and completed by January, 2018. Investigations will include: how the character with the developmental disability interacts with others, develops family relationships, and how exemplary practices are portrayed. Considering the eligible books for the 2018 award helps us come closer to conclusions regarding the trends of developmental disabilities throughout children’s literature. We will provide suggestions for using these books in K-16 classrooms.