Would you expect a baby to talk if you hadn’t taught them?
Growing up attending a specialised school for people with physical disabilities meant I was lucky enough to grow up around people from all walks of life with a variety of different backgrounds. As well as national curriculum lessons our week of learning also included lessons held specifically about disability and how diverse the world was, which was amazing these were my favourite lessons and I always enjoyed learning more not only about CP but also other physical and learning disabilities.
I’ve always known from a young age that I wanted to work within education so once I left school I attended the local college and began a childcare course, it wasn’t until I started going into local mainstream schools on placements that I was shocked to realise that disability doesn’t play as much of a part in a child’s learning if they attend mainstream school as it did during my school life. I’m not niave and its not that I expected to go in to schools and every child would have a wide understanding of disability because that’s not how the world works but sadly in some placements I attended disability wasnt mentioned to children at all.
I’m a very firm believer that children learn things from a very young age and that the way a child is brought up will effect the person they grow up to be, I mean if you didn’t teach a young child to talk would you still expect them to speak? The obvious answer would be no and I believe that the same goes for acceptance. We teach children religious education on a regular basis so that they’re aware of different religions and beliefs as they grow which means that the child should grow up with an open mind and be able to accept or understand different cultures. So why don’t we teach about disabilities? Is that not something that should be taught? so that our future children will grow up into a world were disability is accepted!
I’m not saying in any way that incorporating disability more into the national curriculum will change the future adults to perfect citizens who will never discriminate because sadly it won’t but I do whole heartedly believe that it would help. I’ve been out many times in placement and a child has asked about my disability, only to be told by a teacher or parent to ‘shush or not be so rude’. To me these actions say a lot more about the school or adults than the child, I mean why shouldn’t they ask? We are always told as children that if we don’t know the answers we should ask. To me disability is no exception, I would much rather someone ask about my disability than just stand and stare!
We spend a huge part of our young lives within education and we go to school to learn things that will help us in later life e.g maths, English or science so why not disability? I believe that making disability and equality even a small part of a child’s learning life would really help them become more open minded and understanding individuals.
Should disability be more talked about in education? Let me know what you all think!