Did you know that around 1 billion people,15% of the world’s population, have a recognised disability?
The number of children with disabilities globally is estimated at almost 240 million.
Disabled people and those with special needs are far more likely to live in poverty than people without additional needs. They do not have equal access to healthcare, education, or employment. There is far less representation of people with disabilities in politics or participation in decision making or in wider society.
In childhood, children with disabilities are less likely than non-disabled children to attend primary, secondary school or higher education. They are less likely to be able to read or do sums. It is not only hard for children educationally but it can also be difficult for children with disabilities to keep up socially. Children are frequently separated so mainstream children and those with specific needs miss opportunities to learn how to make friends and mix. This can create stigmas and misunderstandings about disability that continue on into adulthood.
By breaking down those stigmas and negative attitudes we not only improve the learning experience in the classroom but we help children to open the door to new friends. By being more inclusive we can see disruptive pupils finding new, calmer ways to communicate, join in lessons and make friends.
And it doesn’t have to be difficult!
For example, we know that people who are deaf, particularly those who have no or unclear speech, are frequently considered to be less intelligent. Children with hearing impairments can struggle in school because teachers are turned towards the board, or background noise in the classroom means they can’t hear instructions or distinguish individual voices. When you cannot hear what is going on, it is hard to keep up and it seems like you are not able to understand. But hearing impairment is no indicator of intelligence and there are simple things you can do to ensure a deaf person is included in any conversation:
- Turn your face towards them so they can see your lips
- Speak clearly, emphasising your lip movements
- Turn down the music or background noise
- Take a little more time to ensure you explain clearly what is going on
- Carry a notebook and pen to write things down
No special equipment or resources are needed!