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Are you teaching your children about disability?

Read on for how to encourage inclusivity in your children actively

We accept you

A statement that is simple in expression but extremely powerful in meaning. We all raise our children in the hope that when they eventually flee the nest they will be well-rounded, good-intentioned humans who hopefully we won't catch on 24 hours in police custody.

We teach them kindness, and good manners and comfort them when they're sad, but do we remember the other important aspects of teaching them how to be accepting of difference and ensuring they are actively choosing inclusivity?

It can be overwhelming to know where to begin. There's a great deal of content online and often we worry about language and stereotyping by accident. An inclusive culture begins with the understanding that children are able to identify differences instead of pretending those differences don’t exist. That can start with teaching person-first language whereby we don't equate children to a disability or neuro-diverse identity.

"instead of referring to a classmate as autistic, a child can learn to identify their peer as a person with autism."

In 2022 an article was published in The Telegraph suggesting that the most family-friendly show on the planet had become a box-ticking exercise in "wokeism." The language of the article is problematic for many different reasons that I don't feel should have the opportunity to be represented here. What I will say is this, Strictly is creating an inclusive environment that allows children at home to see somebody similar to them on the screen, an opportunity for them to know that this world does also, hold a place for them and that this world absolutely SHOULD be making allowances for them to have exactly the same opportunities.

What is most important is that we do not shy away from embracing differences and teaching inclusivity. To help you get started below I have created a handy guide of literature suitable for children of different ages that can really get them thinking about differences and make for great conversations around the dinner table.

By Sonia Sotomayer

Sonia Sotomayor celebrates and embraces different abilities children have, such as; ADHD, diabetes, blindness and neurodiversity. As the kids work together to build a community garden, the author asks readers questions such as “How do you use your senses?” to help encourage empathy and differing perspectives of life with a disability.


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