In this modern age, there is no way to avoid coming in contact with someone who has a disability. The person might be in your family, in your child’s school or living in your neighbourhood.
Therefore, it is essential to educate your child about disabilities and to foster an attitude of acceptance and inclusion. The education you give your child now will serve as a guide by which they treat people with disabilities as they grow up.
Here are a few ways you can teach your child about disability;
Answer their questions
Your child is currently at an age where their brain is developing. As a result, they want to soak up every piece of information, and this makes them very curious.
If your child asks you a question about a person with a disability, do not tell your child to keep quiet or ignore their question, try as best you can to answer and if you do not know the answer, do some research so you can answer.
Open a discussion
You can purposefully introduce disabilities to your child, especially if one of your family members is disabled.
First ask them if they have noticed anyone acting, talking or walking differently from them. Then, use their answer as an opportunity to discuss the meaning of disability and its implications properly.
Lead by example
If you want your child to treat people with disability as their equals, let them see you doing it. Interact with a disabled person as you would with someone who is not disabled.
Ask them questions politely if you wish to know about their condition and how to help them. They will most likely give you all the information you need. When your child notices that you do not treat disabled people differently, he or she will follow in your footsteps.
Watch your language
When talking to or referring to a disabled person, do not use derogatory words. Using these words makes your child think they are superior to people with disabilities and should treat them as such.
Instead, use words like ‘different’ or ‘special’ to make your child understand that they are of equal status with disabled people.
Learn to be helpful
Most disabled people need a fair amount of help in going about their daily activities. Lots of technology products have been developed with the sole purpose of aiding the disabled; they include electric wheelchairs, prosthetics and robots, to name a few.
Financial support services have been established to help family members afford new technology for people with a disability. Families should be aware of the NDIS assistive technology providers that are available for their family members. It is advisable for the family members to learn to use the technology as it will make them be of more help to their disabled loved ones.
Say no to bullying
Disabled people are most times, victims of bullying as they are seen as vulnerable. It is your responsibility to dissuade your child from taking part in this harmful act. Teach them to stand up for disabled people and protect them.
If you catch your child participating in the bullying of a disabled child or adult, do not keep quiet. Correct your child firmly and teach them to serve as an advocate for disabled people rather than causing them physical or emotional harm.
If you do not know how to teach your child about any form of disability properly, search the internet and learn thoroughly. Do not pass a wrong message to your child out of ignorance. Lastly, it is not okay to just tolerate people with disability, make efforts to accept and include them into your and your child’s lives.