000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550   000-080   1Z0-051   300-208   350-029   102-400   1z0-434   220-801   70-347   1Z0-804   210-260   640-911   300-135   NSE4   EX200   070-461   70-534   700-501   9L0-012   MB6-703   400-101   70-480   M70-101   SY0-401   PMP   1Z0-061   9A0-385   642-732   000-017   9L0-066   JN0-102   1Z0-061   70-411   1V0-601   300-206   400-051   MB2-707   640-692   101   70-346   CISSP   HP0-S42   PR000041   PMP   300-075   200-125  , 300-135   CCA-500   2V0-620   CISM   OG0-093  

Talking to Kids About Disabilities – Greater Pensacola Parents

Talking to Kids About Disabilities

Why do you talk like that?”  I heard the question come from behind me as I helped another child in the Sunday school class. 

“It’s just the way I am.” I heard my sister-in-law wisely answer the curious boy.

My sister-in-law, Kara, was born with Cerebral Palsy. She was helping me in the classroom that day when one of the kids noticed her speech is different. Kara has been taught to answer, “It’s just the way I am,” after years of questions about her differences.

Our kids have grown up around their beloved Aunt Kara and accept her as she is but there came a time when each of them have asked about Kara’s disability and why it makes her different.

Chances are, at some point, your child will meet someone at school or in the community that has disabilities. It is normal for children to have questions about people who are different, which means parents should be prepared to answer their questions in an intelligent and appropriate way. Here are some tips to get the conversation started:

Everyone is different but the same

All of us have unique gifts, personalities, and challenges. No two people are the same and this is a great thing because diversity makes life interesting and fun. While we are all different, everyone has things in common too. All people, including people with disabilities, want to have friends, be shown respect, and have the desire to be accepted. Encourage your child to embrace the differences of others and find common ground, as well. If your child is interested in a popular television show, book, toy, or game, chances are a person with special needs is too. Ask them what they love to do, I would guess they will be happy to tell you. 

Types of disabilities

Some disabilities are obvious and some are not. Some people may need a walker or wheelchair to help them move around. Others may have a cognitive (thinking) disability that is not as visible. Explain in simple terms that people struggle with different things and may need a little extra help from a physical tool (like a wheelchair) or help from others. People can have impairments with sight, hearing, walking, speech, cognitive, or a variety of other things.  It is important to note that just because someone is in a wheelchair, it does not mean they have a cognitive disability. Also, disabilities are not contagious and children are not going to “catch” the disability. These things may sound obvious to adults, but children process things differently and many have these questions.

Name calling is never okay

Emphasize that people with disabilities have feelings too. Name calling is hurtful, disrespectful, and is a form of bullying. People with disabilities need others to stand up for them when they cannot stand up for themselves. Encourage your child to tell an adult if kids are teasing another child. Your child can be an example to others by being kind and respectful. Parents can set an example by using positive language and behavior towards others, as well.

A note about “rude” comments

Kids are curious and love to ask questions. Many times they will speak exactly what is on their mind, without thinking about whether the comments will be hurtful. This can be very embarrassing to parents. So what do you do if your child blurts out a rude and embarrassing comment? Start by answering calmly and matter of factly. If, for example, your child says, “Why is that boy in a wheelchair?” simply answer, “He needs it to move around. Why don’t you say hello?” If the child is reluctant, say hello to him yourself along with something like, “John likes trains. Do you like trains too?” If the person accompanying the child responds, follow their lead. It is always better to treat others as you would like to be treated than to hurry away in an embarrassing situation. Later, when you are at home, you can ask your child if they have any other questions about others with disabilities and reinforce the value of treating everyone equally.

My sister-in-law, now 38 years old, has been asked many questions over the years, some rude and some just curious. She has learned to handle them well because she knows that, just like anyone else, she has challenges to overcome and successes to celebrate. Kara loves watching movies, dancing to music, and taking care of animals. She loves eating candy, pizza, and tacos. She is fun to be around and loves to get out and explore new places. People with disabilities are just people. Sometimes that simple fact is all kids need to know. 

Sarah Lyons is a contributing writer and has been published in more than 100 parenting publications.