As school begins and the chaos and hubbub of your children getting the right school supplies, what their schedules are, and what days you bring the snacks to class. There are certain topics you might sit your child down and talk with them about. Topics such as how to act accordingly in the classroom and how important it is to do well in school. You might even talk with them about making new friends and school etiquette.
What you probably won’t be talking to them about is disabilities. Which is a little sad in my opinion, but you know… It takes time to change the world’s perspective, lucky for you, time is all I have.
Disability awareness and being open to creating friendships with those who have disabilities are great topics to add to that list as well. I think it is essential that people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, educational backgrounds, and disabled or abled bodied lives love and support one another. Parents teach and prepare their children on how to deal with strangers, how to handle bullies, and how to make good grades. Though, it is very rare that children are taught that it is okay to be friends with someone no matter who they are or what disability they have.
One serious misconception about children is that you, the parent, never think it will be yours who leaves another child out or is the bully. The thing is, is that when your child is swept up with their group of friends it’s hard for them to make the decision to swim against the current. So, they are pressured into picking fun at someone who is different without fully knowing or understanding the consequences of their actions.
Communication is extremely important, and children learn by example. They are always observing what their parents are doing and how they are acting. When parents “shush” their children’s questions about me and hurriedly remove themselves from that situation that just tells said child that people like me are to be left alone and avoided. This can be cause for the child to think that people like me and others who face different disabilities are something to be afraid of. Please stop doing this.
Children are sensitive and beautiful creatures. When your child has a birthday party and you’re inviting the whole class, make sure you’re inviting those students with disabilities too. Can you imagine if your child was the only one out of the entire class that wasn’t invited to a birthday party? Can you imagine your child, the sweet, beautiful baby you love, having to hear all of the excitement from their peers about a party that they can’t go to? Be the better person.
It’s extremely important for you to communicate with your children about accepting all people and their differences. It’s never okay for someone to make fun of another person regardless if they are disabled or not. It’s never okay to be against someone because they are simply “different.” It’s never okay to make fun of someone for things they can’t control.
Stick up for people. Treat people the way that you would want your loved ones treated.