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How To Teach Kids To Embrace Classmates With Disabilities

Teach Kids To Embrace Classmates With Disabilities

It’s never too early to teach our children about differences among their peers. Educating them about disability and inclusion can protect vulnerable kids from bullying and encourage kindness and empathy.

A lot of times we aren’t comfortable talking about ‘disabilities’ or don’t know how to explain it to young kids. And so end up avoiding the topic altogether. But it’s important to teach our kids about children with special needs and how to treat them.

Children can encounter people with special needs anywhere- in their school, at a restaurant or in a store. It’s important to address this topic with them outside of those moments. These conversations will teach them how to respond when they meet someone with different needs, and how to be more aware ,compassionate and helpful.

Let’s teach our kids ‘acceptance‘ and sensitivity towards their friends with special needs. This is the least we can do for them!

Teach kids to embrace classmates with disabilities
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Teach Kids To Embrace Classmates With Disabilities

If you don’t know how to begin, hope these tips will help- 

1. Start With Sharing the Basics 

There are many children’s books that talk about people with special needs. You can also show online videos/tv shows that positively portray this.

Inquire what they think, how they feel and how they can relate to what they discovered in everyday circumstances. If they have encountered a child with disability around, help them make connections.

2. Teach Them- Every Person Is Unique

Children – especially younger ones may easily become confused or overwhelmed. So be careful to not overburden them with a lot of information.

Just help them realize that every child (with or without a disability) is different and those differences should be celebrated. They are never a reason to be scared or to avoid someone.

Allow them to see how we, adults, engage with people of diverse backgrounds and abilities.

3. Emphasize ‘Disability’ Doesn’t Mean One Can’t Do Anything.

A child who has a disability or physical limitation is still a person. They enjoy doing activities with their peers. All they strive for is love and acceptance.

Share ways with kids on how they can include their friends with special needs in various activities.

If they aren’t certain how, convince them to consult the teacher on how to best include and assist their friends.

4. Teach Empathy & Patience

Help your child know that a child with special needs can do the same things as their peers; but it may take them a little bit  longer.

Teach them how to wait, stay calm and patient. Tell them to be kind and understanding.

5. Treat Devices With Respect

Teach children to treat medical devices, such as canes, wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc with respect too. Explain that devices are there to help those who need them. They are not toys or playthings!

Condemn Bullying and tell how deliberately hurting another child’s feelings is wrong. Teach your kids to apologize immediately if they hurt their friends feelings unintentionally.

6. Everyone Needs A Friend

Teach kids that every child needs a friend, even those who are unable to express themselves or participate in certain activities. They love having friends who care for them!

Make them know that anyone, who looks or acts different, has feelings just like they do, and deserve to be treated nicely and with respect.


As you talk to your child about their friends with special needs, do note –

  • to use positive terminology. Do not use words that imply they are “less than” anyone else. Try to keep all your explanations positive. For ex, explain that hearing aids help others hear and wheelchairs help others move around, instead of using negative words (he can’t hear, she can’t walk, etc.)

  • emphasise on similarities. Focus on the things your kids have in common with their special needs friends, instead of differences.

This post is part of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge run by Blogchatter

B- Avoid Saying ‘Be Careful’ To Your Kids

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