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Acceptance Changes Stigma

Furry says, “Let’s Stomp Out Stigma!”

Stigma continues due to a lack of knowledge and awareness about rights, legality and how to empower people with a learning disability.

Stigma and discrimination makes people with a learning disability more prone to lower self-confidence and increased vulnerability (Jahoda and Markova, 2004)

Stigma and discrimination

Beyond school time

  • People in the local area calling them names
  • People in the local area ignoring them
  • Violent physical contact by people in the local area
  • Their parents restricting them
  • Their siblings calling them names

Within school time

  • Being ridiculed/called names by other pupils
  • Violent physical contact from other pupils
  • Being ignored by other pupils
  • Teachers giving unwanted extra help
  • Teachers refusing to help
  • Teachers getting angry about the mistakes they made
  • Being ridiculed by teachers

(Cooney et al., 2006)


  • Cooney, G., Jahoda, A., Gumley, A. & Knott, F. (2006). Young people with learning disabilities attending mainstream and segregated schooling: perceived stigma, social comparisons and future aspirations. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 50, 432-445.
  • Jahoda, A. (1995). Quality of Life: Hope for the Future or an Echo from the Distant Past? In I. Markova and R. Farr (Eds.) Representations of Health, Illness and Handicap (page range). Singapore: Harwood.
  • Jahoda, A. Cattermole, M. & Markova I. (1989). Stigma and the self-concept of people with a mild mental handicap, Journal of Mental Deficiency Research, 32, 103-115.
  • Jahoda, A., Dagnan, D., Jarvie,P., & Kerr,W. (2006). Depression, social context and cognitive behavioural therapy for people who have intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 19, 81-89.
  • Jahoda, A. & Markova, I. (2004). Coping with social stigma: People with intellectual disabilities moving from institutions and family home. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 48, 719-729.
  • Jahoda, A., Trower, P., Pert, C. & Finn, D. (2001). Contingent reinforcement or defending the self? A review of evolving models of aggression in people with mild learning disabilities. British Journal of Medical Psychology


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Inclusive Playground in Lancaster, Wisconsin

Yes, we can! Kids and Volunteers can do BIG THINGS

Inclusive playground ribbon cutting

Winskill Elementary School students celebrated a ribbon cutting for their inclusive playground in September.

Winskill’s inclusive playground dedicated

By Robert Callahan

Lancaster Community Schools celebrated the addition
of inclusive playground equipment when the
2017-2018 school year began.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held near Winskill Elementary School’s Kids Courtyard on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 5. Winskill Elementary School students and staff attended, joining members of the Lancaster Community Fund Advisory Board and Lancaster Mayor David Varnam.

Joe Krantz is a member of the Advisory Board. The night before the ribbon cutting, his son asked him what “united” meant.

“When everyone comes together as one,” Krantz told Winskill students prior to the ribbon cutting. “A perfect example is today, when all of you are united as one. We have the inclusivity with this playground and together all of you will be able to play together now.”

Winskill Elementary second grade teacher Melissa Sperle explained to students what a ribbon cutting ceremony was.

“It symbolizes that this playground is now ours,” she said. “It is a playground for all, for everybody to play side-by-side together, which is what it should be all about.”

Discussion of an inclusive playground began a few years ago.

“We had talked about just making the playground more inclusive for a while. We do a 5K every year, so I think it was three years ago we talked with the kids about trying to raise money to make our playground more inclusive,” Sperle said. “That is kind of how it started. We ended up raising I think it was about $5,000 or so.”

The Lancaster Community Fund supported the playground effort through grants. Approximately $60,000 was raised through grants, the 5K fundraiser and pizza sales.

“It was between the Friends of Winskill and the Community Fund and basically our kids. Our kids are the ones that sell the pizzas,” Sperle said. “Our kids really had a huge part and they are the ones that raise the money for the 5K. It really was a combination effort of our kids and the Lancaster Community Fund. It was awesome.

“When the Community Fund agreed to the grant I remember I am pretty sure I cried.”

Furry the Little Penguins That Could book and Furry Stuffie
Click photo to purchase. Inclusive playground story is included.

Sperle credited Lancaster Community Schools Maintenance Supervisor Dan Yoose for his assistance on the project.

“Dan Yoose was a huge help. Dan Yoose was the one that knew what we needed to do to prepare the site, what we needed to tell the people when they come to set it up, etcetera,” she said. “Without Dan Yoose, there is no way the project would have happened.”

Sperle said the playground has earned rave reviews to date.

“The kids love it. It is really cool to see all of the kids playing together,” she said. “You don’t have to be in a wheelchair to enjoy it, but you could be in a wheelchair and enjoy it. It is not just a playground for our kids with special needs, it is for everybody. That is the one area of our playground every kid can enjoy.”

It only makes sense an inclusive playground was truly a community effort.

“Everybody that I ever talked to made it work. Everybody believed it was something not just our school, but our community, needed,” Sperle said. “We look around our school and community, and there are a lot of kids with special needs in our community. You take for granted being able to push your children on a swing. What parents shouldn’t get to push their child on a swing or play with them in a park? That is something so many of us take for granted until you have a child that can’t do that.”

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All Inclusive Playground In Lancaster

Play and laughter is a vital part of childhood.

An all inclusive playgroud has become realy because of the Lancaster Community fundraisers and through grants.

Approximately $60,000 was raised by Lancaster volunteers through:

  • grants,
  • the 5K fundraiser
  • pizza sales.

Yes, we can!
Together we can do it!

“It was between the Friends of Winskill Elementary, the Community Fund and basically our kids. Our kids are the ones that sell the pizzas,” Sperle said. “Our kids really had a huge part and they are the ones that raise the money for the 5K. It really was a combination effort of our kids and the Lancaster Community Fund. It was awesome.

Learn about playground equipment for different ages and stages so ALL CHILDREN can play with friends.

Thanks Landscape Structure – Inclusive Playgrounds – we love you!