Yesterday I had the privilege of talking to over 100 Second graders about my disability. I spoke specifically about having Cerebral Palsy, but there were speakers who covered learning disabilities, visual disabilities, and Autism, just to name a few. It was a wonderful day and was glad that my fiancé and I were invited by friends.
The day made me think however. While it was good to have the second graders learn, why not the entire school? The more those kids without disabilities are exposed to people with disabilities the more it will help them see that people with disabilities are people like them who just happen to do things a bit differently. Schools have the right idea with the programs. I think they should do more.
I understand that schools have a lot to teach with very little time to do so. Academics and graduation requirements are important, but let us not forget that schools help raise future adults with social skills and teach beliefs and values even if it is not apparent. There is, in my opinion, no reason not to take the time to teach compassion and understanding.
Schools should teach more about disability awareness. If your child has a disability and has trouble making friends or fitting in discuss with the team the idea of having a disability awareness program. If your child feels comfortable maybe they would like to take to their class or school. Without knowing it, he or she may be helping another student.