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Thread: what do kids see? - Good article about kids and disability

  1. #1

    what do kids see? - Good article about kids and disability

    What Do Kids See?


    In a public setting, let's say a mall or a park, a child might see a person who is in a wheelchair or scooter. What does that child really see?

    Often the parent steers their child away. It's not polite to stare. Stay out of the way. Leave them alone.

    It's almost as if the child sees something they're not supposed to see. What is wrong with that person? Why can't I look? Will it happen to me?

    Ah, the innocence of children. Left on their own, the child sees something less sinister. Of course, the child whose sibling or parent has a disability has an entirely different attitude. However, the child with no personal reference base sees a host of possibilities and questions out of innocence and curiosity rather than preconceived notions:

    • <LI class=MsoNormal>Why do you get to ride around when I have to walk? <LI class=MsoNormal>How do you go to the bathroom? <LI class=MsoNormal>Does it hurt? <LI class=MsoNormal>Don't you get tired sitting all the time? <LI class=MsoNormal>How do you have fun?
    • How do you make it go?
    <IMG alt=""><IMG alt="">Children can also be quite thoughtful and empathetic. My granddaughter, just seven, offered to teach me to walk - "It's not hard," she said. And my grandson said I should just try, and I could lean on him if I was afraid I would fall.



    Our children need to learn that wheelers -- and all people with disabilities -- are just ordinary people. There may be some who want to be left alone or are on a schedule. There are some, however, who have time and are willing to answer questions and share experiences -- just like uprights* (*A person who can stand and move in an upright position).

    Surely there are ways to teach our next generation about disability without depending on a chance encounter. Two excellent web sites are below:

    Kids' Quest is a great site to help better understand life with a disability in the easy format of a quest for many types of disabilities. The quest takes this opportunity to enhance Internet skills and learn at the same time. This is my favorite so far.

    Mormon Chic has a good article trying to bring children a step closer to understanding disabilities. Along the sidebar are tips for use when encountering a disabled person such as:
    • <LI class=MsoNormal>Don't pet the canine companion <LI class=MsoNormal>Try to get on the same eye-level as a wheeler
    • Treat a person with a disability the way you like to be treated
    Sounds like good advice to me.

    These are only a couple of good examples. There are blogs, books and school programs demonstrating to kids that people with disabilities are actually people just like them -- a lesson we could all learn.

    Hannah McFadden, 4, attending the dedication of a statue showing Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his wheelchair he used as President, summed it up: "It means people on crutches and in a wheelchair can do anything."


    From http://community.disaboom.com/commun...-kids-see.aspx
    Emily, C-8 sensory incomplete mom to a 8 year old and a preschooler. TEN! years post.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Cute!

    I was in a dr's office and started a conversation w/ two sisters(they were really young) as I could tell they were curious.
    We eventually got on the subject of ages. I guessed their ages and they guessed my father-in-laws @ 30(wrong of course) ,then it was my turn.
    "You must be really old, only old people use wheelchairs"
    I found it to be hilarious. It's amazing what little minds think!

    Emi2, do you volunteer @ your daughters school ?
    I've been contemplating it for awhile although I don't have kids,just haven't.

  3. #3
    I work at a day care center one thing I've learned is that they're not afraid to ask anything and they are brutally honest...

  4. #4
    violet isn't in school yet, but I will definitely volunteer when she is.
    Emily, C-8 sensory incomplete mom to a 8 year old and a preschooler. TEN! years post.

  5. #5
    I spoke to the entire first grade last week. I do one class at a time. It is a lot of fun. I try to get out of my chair and let each of them push around a little. They say really funny things. One asked if someone held my legs could I do a handstand.

  6. #6
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    I was recently at a family gathering and my cousin friend little boy was watching my father drive my son around (19 months) this little kid was running around after my dad, and when my father stopped the boy goes can you go any faster and tried pushing his around. (my father is in a motorized chair). It's wonderful to see a child so inocent who does not think what's wrong with this person. I was laughing cause here the little boy goes to my dad go faster and the adults are going boy that goes fast...

  7. #7
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
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    I think in a way us Canadians have it a bit easier because we have two disabled people who are national icons. Rick Hansen & Terry Fox. The kids understand its not cool to stare or ask questions. The nearly dead on the other hand......

  8. #8

    Smile

    [quote=quad79]Cute!

    I was in a dr's office and started a conversation w/ two sisters(they were really young) as I could tell they were curious.
    We eventually got on the subject of ages. I guessed their ages and they guessed my father-in-laws @ 30(wrong of course) ,then it was my turn.
    "You must be really old, only old people use wheelchairs"
    I found it to be hilarious. It's amazing what little minds think!

    I've had the same thing happen with me. Only, it was when I was at our public library. It was a little boy about 4 or 5, and he said to me, "I know why you use a wheelchair." I played along and said, "Why do you think?" He replied without hesitating, "Because you're so old!!!" His mom, and the children's librarian who happened to overhear him, just about fell over laughing. It made me laugh too. I'm only soon-to-be 27 years old, but I don't look old yet!!

    Samantha

  9. #9
    I love talking with kids and teaching them about people with disabilities. I've had a few chances to speak at grade schools, but would like more opportunity.
    C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by canuck
    The kids understand its not cool to stare or ask questions.
    Why isn't it OK to ask questions? Especially when it's kids that are the ones asking? How else will people learn anything?

    C.

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