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Knowing all disabilities is a complex task since there is a wide range of them. But, behind every disability there is a person to know and value the same as another without apparent disability.
For this, parents or closest relatives play a fundamental role in how a child will act with a partner or friend with a disability. According to Albert Bandura's theory, children learn by imitation, following the model of their parents, especially with regard to social skills or behaviors.
The child's family is partly responsible for how the little one will act in the face of diversity. Many times parents, due to lack of information, have negative actions so that the child can see the person before the disability. Some of the most frequent are:
- Taking the child away from a person in a wheelchair, which can create the wrong feeling that the disability is contagious.
- Innocent question: Mom, why is she still in a stroller? - because it's bad.
- Don't touch it, you can hurt it! Transmitting the fears to the child.
All of this can be imitated by the child, thus creating a wrong vision of disability that will affect values and coexistence among equals with and without disabilities.
Being obvious that a 5-year-old child will not understand that it is a quadriplegia, but he can accept that he walks in a different way than him without the need to turn functional diversity into a disease. Just as they normally see that there are different skin colors, religions or languages, parents should include in those values of respect and empathy the wheelchair, the cane, the sign language, etc ...
- Explaining stories where characters with disabilities appear.
- Including children with disabilities in their drawings.
- Playing games to work the senses. This is how it looks and feels what happens when it is not seen, not heard, etc ... this fosters empathy.
- Encourage play with children with disabilities, classmates, friends, neighbors ... as one more.
Thus, parents and family members, along with the rest of society, are the best trainers by example in terms of respect and equality in the face of disability inclusion. They are the first who must break stereotypes and prejudices, opting for the expansion of knowledge to provide children with values such as respect and empathy towards diversity in general and disability in particular.
You can read more articles similar to Helping Children Understand Disability, in the category of Mental Disorders on site.