Children are fascinated by my wheelchair and stare trying to work out if I am a Transformer. I am fine with this if they’re four or younger because I understand that a ‘Wheelchair Boy’ is a novelty and it’s actually good that they’re intrigued rather than ignoring me. I react with a smile and wave just so they know I’m friendly although I look different. Like I said, they’re toddlers and it’s only natural for them to be unaware of surroundings and therefore inquisitive.
However, once children begin going to school and learning about their surroundings, why not teach about people with various disabilities. In the same way, unless your parents are EDL members, you learn to accept all races from an early age. It would result in less ignorant adults too. Just look at the people I went to school with. They are far more aware and therefore tolerant because I was in their year than people my age who have never come into contact with a disabled.
It’s not about all schools having a ‘token’ wheelchair user but just making young people aware so that it doesn’t matter whether a school has a disabled pupil or not. They’ve all been educated about it and grow up to be less ignorant. The media can play a big part in teaching school children because disability is rarely seen on the screens. And when it is, in the case of CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell, parents complain she is ‘scaring the kids’. Not if you explained to them what disability is. Just like when you gently explain that someone has died.
I want to make people aware and it’s easier to start with little children before lecturing ignorant adults (and there’s a lot). But, that’s another post.
Class over- you’re dismissed!
Bye for now!