How To Address Disability Awareness In Your Class
Disability awareness and inclusion of special children is essential everywhere, especially in schools and institutes. Children with disabilities often become subject to bullying or are simply left out. Such attitudes towards disabled children can have a significant impact on their overall personalities and often alienate them within a classroom environment. These feelings of being an outsider can often impact their learning capabilities. Moreover, it can significantly impact their emotional, social, and psychological well-being.
For the betterment of these kids and their families, it is the adults and authorities' responsibility to make sure their classrooms prioritize inclusivity. The advantages of doing so include:
- All students will learn efficiently.
- Everyone will participate in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
- Engaging, encouraging and motivating kids will be easy in an environment that promotes inclusivity.
- No child will feel left out. They won’t feel like they are being singled out.
- Children with special needs will be able to get the appropriate education and treatment that they require.
Educate Yourself About Disability Awareness & Students with Special Needs
Before spreading awareness regarding a subject, it is essential that you educate yourself first. As teachers, we must be aware of the special needs of children with disabilities. And before that, you must be able to identify them.
Essentially, they are two kinds of disabilities: physical and cognitive. The former involves challenges associated with physical traits, such as hearing loss, impairments of mobility, limited range of motion in joints, and vision loss. Similarly, cognitive conditions include challenges associated with mental, psychological, and emotional systems of the body.
Identifying these children can be tough sometimes as they seem completely normal in terms of appearance. However, in such cases, a proper screening process that includes examination, comprehensive evaluation, and observation can help you figure out whether a child needs special care and attention.
5 Ways to Raise Disability Awareness in the Classroom
1. Identify Students with Special Needs
Again, as adults, teachers, and authority figures, you need to equip yourself with knowledge on the subject matter that you can use to identify students with disabilities. This way, you can be more careful about their individual needs and understand their behaviors better. Plus, you can pay special attention to them during the class and make sure they understand what you're trying to teach them. Successfully identifying students that have special needs is an integral part of disability awareness.
Even though most of the students come to school with a pre-diagnosed condition, and both parents and teachers are aware of their disabilities, it can sometimes be a complete surprise. Thus, recognizing such kids has an important influence on how you can promote disability awareness.
2. Talk About Physical and Mental Disabilities in Your Class
Normalizing physical and mental disabilities and ensuring disability awareness within the classroom entirely depends on the nature in which you discuss it and how frequently you talk about it with your students kids. Talking about this particular subject is not dependent on discussions. You can be as inventive as you want. Your primary goal is to introduce thought-provoking understanding that makes children more aware and sensitive about this issue.
You can tell stories, read relevant books, arrange presentations on particular disabilities, play tributes to specific disabled individuals, and much more.
3. Make Lesson Planning and Delivery More Inclusive
When you identify particular children who have special needs, make sure you plan lessons and activities with them in mind. For example, if you plan to indulge the kids in a colorful activity, think of the color-blind children in your class. Slightly mold the exercise to fit their needs and capabilities. Similarly, if you plan to watch a movie in class, include subtitles for kids who have trouble listening or keeping up with a fast speech pace.
4. Develop a Supportive Network
Groups, blogs, and societies specific for children with special needs are an excellent idea to promote disability awareness. Schools and institutes can own blogs where they could post more about such conditions. Teachers and mentors can create societies for children with similar challenges. Normal children could also be a part of these groups as per their preferences, and a supportive network can evolve over time as a result. Doing this can immensely reduce the chances of bullying or children feeling like they are being left out because they are "different."
5. Arrange Activities Disability Awareness
Marathons, seminars, rallies, plays, and other activities can indulge children and adults in a very creative way. Associating a cause to these activities can help with disability awareness and subtly educate everyone about its importance. It is essential that these activities interest the children and that they are closely associated with the cause. The more relevant the movement, the easier it will be to push the message and concept into the children's minds.
Children with special needs often require some extra help in technical and speedy activities, such as computer typing. Software like KeyboardingOnline can help improve their speed and response times when it comes to typing. Practicing such skills helps improve other cognitive and physical traits as well. Faster, better typing can lead to healthy hand muscles and also help with concentration skills. Incorporating technologies that help disabled children perform better in class and feel more accommodated is always a good idea.