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Be A Friend – Acceptance and Inclusion

School is starting and we are filling backpacks and getting into a routine of starting our day with our children.

School has already started for some.  Right now it is a good time to have a discussion with our kids about how to be a friend. It is especially important in having discussions about how to be a friend to children with special needs.

We need to teach ACCEPTANCE of what it means to be a good friend.
If we start teaching FRIENDSHIP maybe, just maybe we can stop bullying.

For kids with disabilities, school is scary and often very lonely.  Your child and your lessons can make a difference for those children and help them start the school year on the right foot or wheel whatever the mode of transportation.  In every classroom in our country or the world, there are children who have differences, visible and invisible disabilities, or with social struggles.  We all have Differing Abilities as we are all Unique. We all have strengths and purpose to bring to our classrooms, schools and the world.

Take a STAND for FRIENDSHIP and INCLUDING EVERYBODY.

Teaching about Friendship with those who have Differing Abilities

Acceptance, Understanding, Inclusion, and Caring.

AAcceptance that we all have differences. Everybody Matters
CCare about including Everyone.
CCompassion to reach out for someone who is sitting alone or struggles with having a friend. Be Understanding.
EEmpower your Friend.  Speak up for your friend if someone is teasing or not including someone.
PPatience and Kindness.
TTalk to your friend about what they like and talk clearly and ask them questions. Teach by being a good example.
AAbility find your friends ability and find out the interests you share in common and just play. Ask questions if you are wondering.
NNotice what a friend does well and where they have a challenge, then find ways to help your friend.  See a need, fill a need.
CCreate a friendship with someone who needs a friend and invite them to your birthday party or to do an activity outside of school.
E Everyone needs a friend! Help your friend to be included with Everyone. Invite others to play or do an activity at lunch or the playground. No one should ever be sitting alone.

“Furry The Little Penguins That Could” 

When we teach our kids to CARE,

have COMPASSION and EMPATHY

we are all EMPOWERED.

 

We will have better schools, caring communities and a KINDER WORLD.

These are important skills our children will have for life.

And maybe, just maybe EVERYONE will have a FRIEND.

 

 

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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)

Source:

  • 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