How to talk to children about disability


From answering ‘awkward’ inquiries to encouraging curiosity and kindness, we discover easy methods to method conversations with kids

There are 14 million disabled folks within the UK, but speaking about incapacity continues to be seen as a taboo topic. It will probably really feel awkward for everybody concerned, nevertheless it doesn’t must be that means.

As a disabled lady, I’ve skilled quite a few events the place kids have requested me about my situation. Having had youthful siblings myself, I actually encourage their inquisitive aspect and imagine that ignoring the subject really does incapacity a disservice.

For instance, I used to be ready for a taxi from my native leisure centre once I seen somewhat boy saved taking a look at me. On the time, I used to be utilizing my wheelchair and assumed that was why he was wanting. After a couple of minutes, I overheard his mom speaking about wheelchairs after which her son appeared by my aspect, saying: “Can I ask you a query?” I nodded. He responded, “How fast can your wheels go?”

“Individuals are typically apprehensive about saying the improper factor, but saying nothing in any respect can do extra harm”

We ended up speaking about how briskly I may go, and he reckoned my ‘magic wheels’ have been as quick as a rocket! His mom thanked me for taking the time to speak along with her son, and I thanked her as a result of she enabled her son to have a dialog about incapacity that was age acceptable. I used to be actually happy she didn’t shut down his query, or pull him away.

Individuals are typically apprehensive about saying the improper factor, but saying nothing in any respect can do extra harm in terms of explaining incapacity to kids. Listed below are some suggestions for having these conversations:

Acknowledge incapacity

I’m not the elephant within the room. You possibly can say the phrase ‘disabled’. If it’s one thing your little one has not seen earlier than, it’s pure for them to have questions. Ignoring the subject can result in worry of incapacity, and lack of training and awareness are the largest contributors to discrimination.

Normalise incapacity

Discover TV exhibits or books with disabled characters. This helps to take away the stigma, and exhibits that it’s a traditional a part of society. There are a lot of nice books for teenagers that characteristic a disabled character, together with: Celine’s New Splints, Enjoyable within the Solar, Haylee’s Buddies, Jacob’s Visitors Jam, and My Brother is an Astronaut. These books are an effective way to open up the dialog about incapacity in a means that kids can perceive.


Your actions form their views

There have been numerous instances the place a baby has been informed off for watching me, or dragged out of the way in which once I’ve been of their path. I respect the great intentions, however what does that educate them? Ought to they steer clear of disabled folks? Are we taboo? Taking the time to elucidate why they could want to maneuver, or why that man has one arm, will assist kids to know we’re to not be feared.

Incapacity equality charity Scope has a marketing campaign referred to as ‘Finish The Awkward’, which makes use of humour to focus on how uncomfortable folks may be round incapacity. The marketing campaign presents strategies on easy methods to cope with uncomfortable emotions, and has tips about acceptable use of language.

Being disabled isn’t a foul factor

Being disabled doesn’t imply somebody is incapable. We’re disabled by society and the boundaries put in our means. If you happen to can’t stroll however must enter a constructing, stairs are going to disable you. If there was a elevate, you’d have the ability to entry the constructing. This is named the social mannequin of incapacity. With the best help, disabled folks can nonetheless reside a traditional life, and this is a crucial sentiment to discover with children. If the subsequent era is educated about incapacity, disabled kids can develop up in a very inclusive society.

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