As parents, we want to raise our children to be kind, empathetic, and inclusive. One way to promote these values is by teaching our kids about disabilities. With the right resources and guidance, we can help our children understand and appreciate differences in ability and perspective.
That’s why we are thrilled to announce our Annual Week of Awareness at The Cottonwood School, where we will host a variety of activities and events to expose students to a variety of disabilities, including speech & language impairments, ADHD, dyslexia, physical disabilities, and neurodiversity. Our hope is that these experiences will help children gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges that some individuals face and develop a greater appreciation for diversity and inclusion.
We are proud to have many students and parents who are a part of our school and who have a variety of differences and abilities. In the process of exploring disabilities, we can come to better understand people who are already a part of our lives. Some of us have children who are differently-abled and have come to understand the importance of learning about one another and how that makes more space for everyone.
Here are some ideas to help you talk to your children about disabilities:
Start with the basics: Begin by teaching your child that everyone is different, and that differences are what make us unique and special. Talk about the ways that people can be different, including differences in abilities.
Be positive: When talking about disabilities, focus on the strengths and abilities of individuals, rather than their limitations. Emphasize the ways that people with disabilities are just like everyone else and the contributions they make to society.
Use appropriate language: Use language that your child can understand and avoid stigmatizing terms or negative labels. Teach your child to use “people-first” language, which emphasizes the person rather than the disability (e.g., “a person with a disability” rather than “a disabled person”).
Model inclusion: Encourage your child to be inclusive and kind to everyone, regardless of their abilities or differences. Model this behavior by treating everyone with respect and kindness, and avoiding negative stereotypes or biases.
Seek out resources: There are many books, videos, and online resources that can help you teach your child about disabilities. Use these resources to supplement your own conversations and help your child gain a deeper understanding. Our Lending Library is full of resources like these.
We are excited to invite you to join us for our annual Week of Awareness, Feb.27 – Mar. 3, where we will have fun educational activities and events to expose kids to a variety of disabilities. We hope that you and your child will participate and that together, we can promote greater understanding, empathy, and inclusion for all.
Kara Parkins, Parent Support Advisor
P.S. A Touch of Understanding is an important part of our Week of Awareness. Give your child the opportunity to meet persons with disabilities and hear their stories, walk with a cane, learn Braille, navigate in a wheelchair, and more. Registration is still open for this popular, hands-on experience. Save the dates and stay tuned for more details about our Week of Awareness.