Having a voice

Having a voice

In the sections following this, we introduce you to some characters, based on real people, who have disabilities and medical conditions. However, it is really important that people with specific needs – both obvious and hidden – are able to describe and talk about their own experiences. It is also essential that these students are able to explain how they want to be treated and how their classmates can best include them.

In the previous section, we invited students to think about a time when they needed help, or were prevented from doing something because someone thought they could not do it. Here we look at that more closely.

A group of 6 blue characters, all wearing yellow and dark blue clothes. One is blind, and is using a white cane and wearing dark glasses; the next has his hands up and is backing away as if nervous; the next person is wearing a hearing aid and signing 'n' in british sign language; the next person is holding their chin and their head and looking worried; the next person is standing looking tired, with their hand up to their forehead and eyes closed; the final person in front of the group is sitting in a wheelchair, waving.

Activity 2

Invite all your students to communicate what difficulties they may have when in the classroom or the playground. Do they have trouble keeping up with friends in running games? Do they struggle to keep up when people are talking too fast? Do they feel left out because they cannot hear what is being said over the classroom noise?

The next questions is what would make them feel more included? Would it help if friends played different games sometimes that didn’t involve running? Could people talk a bit slower or just one person at a time?

Find different ways for students to express themselves:

1. Talking in front of the class or a group

2. Writing things down individually

3. Making videos of each other

4. Working together to act out scenarios

5. Drawing pictures or posters of what others can do to help.

A selection of icons depicting a paintbrush, camera, someone standing at a podium, a mobile phone, a pen writing and a pencil drawing a picture of a house on a piece of paper.

Your students may find talking difficult. They may find it difficult to express themselves in writing. So find different ways for the students to express themselves. You will encourage greater and more honest conversation.

Example

Below is some work completed by students who attend Dosti, a school for children with special needs in India. You can read more about the activities the students completed and see more of their work in a blog here: WeCanAccess Youth – Dosti – WecanAccess

The only special need I have is to be loved and accepted just the way I am, so be my friend in real sense by involving me equally in every activity and I will try my best to be at par and will not let down. Student Y

I must not be left alone nor be looked down just because I am differently abled and want to be treated with same dignity like you so be my buddy, my support system and not a sympathizer rest, I can manage when I know I have you beside me. Student A

A colourful hand drawn picture shows 3 smiling children playing with a skipping rope. A boy is jumping, and two girls are holding the rope, one of the girls is in a wheelchair. The caption reads 'I feel so good when mainstream children participate in play with us'.
I feel so good when mainstream children participate in play with us.
A young man with his eyes closed is holding up his drawing of 3 characters playing.
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