Disability is considered an adult, a complicated and sophisticated topic for children. Nevertheless, disabled people are one of the largest social groups. It is quite normal for children to be curious about other children who have some exceptionalities and disabilities. In this case, the role of the teacher is to support the children in their understanding of these differences.
Reading books about people with disabilities
One of the methods of raising children’s awareness of disabilities is reading books that will help tell the child about children with special needs simply and understandably. When choosing literature, the teacher must consider the existing knowledge of children, and their intellectual capabilities and respect the ignorance and misunderstanding of the child. So, for young children, to increase their awareness of disabilities, it will be helpful to read such books as “Andy and His Yellow Frisbee” by Mary Thompson, “Be Good to Eddie Lee” by Virginia Filling, “Arnie & the New Kid” by Nancy Carlson, “Danny and the Merry-go-Round” by Nan Holcomb, “Let’s Talk about It” by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, “Leo the Late Bloomer” by Robert Kraus, “Fair and Square” by Nan Holcomb, “I ‘m like You, You’re like Me ”by Cindy Gainer,“ We can do it! ” by Laura Dwight, or “Rolling Along: The story of Taylor and his Wheelchair” by Jamee Heelan.
Demonstrating films about people with disabilities
Films with characters with exceptionalities and disabilities can help develop understanding, compassion, and tolerance among viewers who do not face these challenges. Children learn about courage, empathy, and perseverance by watching and discussing these inspiring stories. An example would be Sesame Street & Autism: See Amazing in All Children or Finding Nemo.
Note: December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. A teacher can add it to the holiday calendar described in the last paragraph and talk with children about people with disabilities.