Teaching Kids about Disability
There are so many different disabilities that your child may not necessarily be aware of, both physically and mentally, that can differ in severity. While your children may not have met someone with a disability just yet, once they start nursery or school, they may be faced with disability.
With around 7% of children having some form of disability, your little ones might meet children of their own age with disabilities in school, and as their curiosity kicks in, they will probably come home with a lot of questions. It’s down to us as parents to teach them about disabilities, not only to improve their understanding of the subject, but to have them grow up aware of the uniqueness of people and treating everyone equally.
Here are a few ideas on how to discuss disabilities with your kids, from the mobility aid experts at Ability Superstore.
Be direct with them
It’s better to get straight to the point than to dance around the subject when it comes to teaching children about disabilities. If you find them looking curiously at someone, with a mobility aid for example, simply explain to them that they might have a condition that means they can’t walk as well as others, or move about in the same way.
People are unique, but everyone is human
In the diverse world that we live in, it’s crucial that children understand that while people look and act differently, everybody is equal and should be treated in the same way. This should be stressed in regards to people with disabilities. Whilst they might not be able to do some of the same things that your child can, it doesn’t mean they aren’t equal.
Jokes about a disability is wrong
Bullying in schools happens a lot and children might not even realise that what they’re doing is wrong. As parents, when sitting down for the chat with our children, we should be enforcing the fact that laughing or joking about people with disabilities is wrong. Explain to your children that while they might not show it, their feelings could be hurt.
Make sure they’re aware of invisible illnesses
Physical disabilities are much easier to notice than invisible conditions, including hearing problems for example. Making sure your child knows that sometimes a person might have a disability that doesn’t show, will make them much more aware and help them to treat people equally.
Don’t focus on what they can’t do
Although those living with a disability may not be able to do certain things as well as others, there are plenty of other things they might excel in. We should teach our children that while they might require mobility equipment to walk around, they might actually have something in common that they are great at! Why don’t they try speaking to their fellow pupil and finding out what they enjoy doing?
Going the extra mile
There’s plenty that your children can do, not only to help those with disabilities but to develop themselves as people. For example, they could start to learn the basics of sign language if there is someone with hearing difficulties in their school. You could even spend some quality time with each other, by going to the classes and learning new things together.
These are just a few ways in which you can begin to teach your child about disability. Starting to build their awareness from a young age will help them to grow into a fantastic individual who treats everyone equally.