Building Disability Awareness with our Children

As a professional educator, it has often occurred to me that we as a community need to invest in teaching our children about disability inclusion if we are going to impact the future.
I have always found children to be delightfully honest and willing to consider news ways of thinking. It just makes sense that, during their most impressionable stages of development, we should give them the chance to learn about disability, learn about what makes people different.  We need to make the subject of disability a comfortable topic to discuss, giving them the appropriate vocabulary to be effective advocates. Perhaps this kind of education at a young age can build a foundation of awareness that will foster change in our society.

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This morning I had the opportunity to talk to students at Norfolk Christian Lower School in Norfolk, VA http://www.norfolkchristian.org/ about how everyone is unique, much like a puzzle piece.  I referenced the familiar Bible verse Psalm 139:13-14:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Even the youngest Pre-K students there seemed to grasp the concept that we are all “wonderfully made”; unique, just like the many pieces of a puzzle.  After our little chat, the three student volunteers put their puzzle pieces into the full puzzle so we could see the whole picture.
“Just like a puzzle,” I concluded, “we are all pieces of God’s community, fearfully and wonderfully made. We are made to be in community with one another, not to stand alone.  We are unique pieces of one big, beautiful picture and every single one of us, regardless of ability or disability,  is an important part of the puzzle.”

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If your school (religious or public) or faith community is interested in a disability awareness presentation geared to your group, contact us at http://faithinclusionnetwork@gmail.com