These days, children are typically very understanding of my sons disabilities. They learn a lot in school, but every once in a while I do come across a child that seems scared of my son or just staring because they don't understand.
Children are innocent as they are growing up. They ask questions which may embarrass their parents but they honestly don't know if what they are asking is inappropriate. Teaching your children about disabilities is important so they are aware and can avoid hurting others feelings.
We want our children to treat others with respect, particularly those with disabilities. We would also like to think we model empathy for others to our children.
What do you do when you see someone who is disabled? Many people shush their children and become embarrassed when their children ask about the person with disabilities. But did you know that meeting someone with a disability can be a great learning experience for your children?
In general, children don't understand disabilities or handicaps. They don't have preconceived ideas about what is considered normal . Children look at everyone with the notion that they are the way they are and that is ok. The sad fact is that children learn how to react to people with differences from us adults, who sometimes don't do a great job themselves.
Rather than looking away, pointing, or ignoring those with disabilities, engage them. Make a point to acknowledge them; give them a smile. You may want to go over to them and ask them if you and your child can speak with them.
Most people with disabilities or who look different from others are used to being ignored or whispered about. They long to be treated like everyone else; they may be different but they have the same desires and feelings. By engaging them in conversation, you may be surprised how open people with disabilities are about themselves.
People with disabilities, no matter if they are children, teens, or adults, may be different in some ways but are really more alike than they are different.
Reinforce to your child what is considered the "Golden Rule" 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' Treat others as you like to be treated.
Read story books which feature children or adults with handicaps or disabilities. Stories can sometimes explain things in a way parents can't because they are geared toward teaching.
Teaching your children about disabilities is important. You want your children to treat others with respect and empathy. In this day and age you don't want to raise a bully. You want your child to embrace people who are different. If you can teach your children you will have accomplished a great goal and be a proud parent.
Here are some recommendations on book about disabilities that I have bought: