Wednesday, November 24, 2021

How To Teach Your Children About Disabilities




With over 14 million people in the UK who are disabled, it is likely that your child will meet someone who has a disability, whether it be when out and about or in their school or nursery class. 
But what is the best way to address this when talking to children? Discover a few ways you can raise your child to become an empathetic individual and an ally for the disabled community. 
Why teach your children about disabilities?
Young kids are naturally very curious. So, when they ask why one of their schoolmates uses a wheelchair, it’s perfectly fine. Unfortunately, many parents brush their child’s questions under the rug to avoid being viewed as rude and impolite, or simply feel too uncomfortable with the topic to broach a discussion.
But addressing children’s questions can help them understand the world that they are growing up in, encouraging them to think critically about their own, and other people’s, behaviour. 
So, what type of factors can we keep in mind when teaching our children about disabilities?
Use simple language
When your child asks about a disabled person, give them a matter-of-fact answer, and parents should avoid using highly emotive language. For instance, if your child asks why someone is in a wheelchair, simply explain that the person has a problem with their legs, which means he or she cannot walk.
Simplifying the fact for your child makes it easy for your child to understand and gives them a viable answer to their question. 
It is also important to avoid using the word “normal” to describe non disabled people, as this word implies a negative connotation towards those who have disabilities. 
Show respect
Some kids get nervous or shy when around people with disabilities. The most encouraging thing you can do to teach your children about disabilities is to emphasise to your kids that those with disabilities are people, just like them. 
As parents, we can do this by setting model behaviour for our children to copy. This means no inappropriate jokes or comments, but also treating the child or person with a disability the same as any other person. For instance, if the person with a disability is in your child’s class, then making the same effort to invite them along to a social event with your child’s other non disabled classmates.  
Understanding equipment
Those with disabilities often have specialist equipment to help them in their everyday life. Equipment such as wheelchairs, walking frames, or guide dogs are just some of the tools used to help with mobility or sight.
Explaining to your children why these tools are used can help kids to understand more about disabilities.
By pointing out other tools like disabled toilets, hoists, and vehicles that have wheelchair access, you can also help your child understand the reason behind these tools and facilities and who may use them.
Supply media with diversity 
Supply your child with a variety of diversified media to broaden their world view from an early age.
Making a choice to purchase films or books that feature disabled characters or discuss disability is a fantastic way to expose your child to a variety of different disabilities and to teach them about equality and respect in an engaging way. 
We hope these simple approaches will help you feel more comfortable discussing disabilities with your children. If in doubt, set a good example for your children and they will learn passively to treat those with disabilities with respect and kindness.


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