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New MN campaign around children with special needs

(643 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 31-Jan-13 09:17:22

Hello

Following on from this, um, lively thread from a couple of weeks back, we wanted to follow up on kungfupannda's excellent suggestion of an MNHQ-backed awareness-raising campaign aimed at - in kungfupannda's words - 'making it absolutely, uncompromisingly clear that in order to fully include children with severe disabilities, people might have to accept a bit of disruption once in a while.'

We were thinking about something along the lines of our We Believe You campaign on rape myths; that is to say, an ongoing awareness-raising project aimed at the general public, rather than a short-term campaign with specific policy requests attached. We would be thinking about pages on Mumsnet itself featuring the experiences of our posters, activity on our Bloggers Network, ye olde Twitter hashtagge, and any press coverage we can grab.

The suggestion on the thread was for the campaign to be called 'Tolerance is...', but we at MNHQ are a little unsure about the word 'tolerance' (which can suggest barely-contained irritation, rather than the kind of empathetic understanding and generosity of spirit we'd all like to see). So we were wondering whether something along the lines of 'This is my child' would work better?

Please feel free to use this thread to give us any feedback and ideas, and generally let us know what you think.

Thanks
MNHQ

WadingThroughTreacle Thu 31-Jan-13 11:37:01

Inclusion should be taught in schools from the earliest age. In fact, it should be instilled into the children from birth by their parents but that ain't gonna happen That's part of the reason why schools should be inclusive, it's not just about the child with SN, it's about educating the other children. Surely, this would lead to inclusion in the wider world. I am proud to say that I have always instilled it in my older child (long before I knew my younger child had issues). I also know that many parents pull the right faces/make the right noises but behind closed doors, their opinions are far away from that. Sighs.

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 31-Jan-13 11:37:34

I like tolerance - in all sorts of context eg religious, disabilist. But "This is me" is good too and the whole campaign is a supremely fab idea. Happy to comtribute any artickes etc. Maybe ask ricky gervais to chip in, given Derek? Could we add in though an intolerance of abuse using words like retard or mong? With apologies to John Lennon "retard is the nigger of today". Mong is just unconscionable.

Also, as mum to a boy who has learning difficulties as well as autism, could we sort of communicate that terms like mentally retarded or educationally sub-normal (yuk) are now referred to as learning disabilities?

Good on you Mumsnet towers!

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 31-Jan-13 11:45:20

There were some hideous figures published recently about the rise in disabilist hate crime.

It is an anomaly in our society that a gang of teens, however feral, would rarely now shout racial abuse , but would definitely still feel fine to shout "retard" or to kick the head in of the poor, learning disabled child or adult .

Perhaps we can help change the social mores, just as anti-racist campaigns did in the 70s/80s?

Lindsay321 Thu 31-Jan-13 11:49:04

It seems that the parents and family of children with special needs are judged and excluded as much as the children. What about:

"This Is Me/This Is Me" (child/parent for example but has my variables)

I think it covers the child, the adult and the parent or any of their family members who are affected.

threesocksmorgan Thu 31-Jan-13 11:50:41

I agree that inclusion should start a birth, more parents should search out the inclusive baby groups an play groups and so on.
I am anti inclusion in schools. children with sn often drown in MS I know mime would have.
but there are lots of other way to be inclusive,
but it has to be with adults too, disability is for life, not just child hood. and There is even less tolerance for adults with sn.

but I still think mn hq are being hypocritical with this.
they allow vile disablist posts and threads to stand, yet want to campaign !!
surely first off mn itself has to be sorted.

Fantastic idea, I'm in.

I agree that 'acceptance' is better than 'tolerance' but as someone mentioned upthread we wouldn't talk in terms of 'accepting' racial minorities. Is there a way that it can be worded that's more - not exactly aggressive, but assertive? I like 'This is me'.

ProtegeMoi Thu 31-Jan-13 12:06:30

Also so not a fan of tolerance and think acceptance or inclusion would work much better. After all its about accepting our children as valuable members of society and including them in activities as opposed to simply tolerating them because you have to.

'I am anti inclusion in schools.'

I'm not, but it absolutely doesn't work as it currently is. This is the physical/educational/social thing. Inclusion in schools is usually only physical. Child x is IN the classroom, therefore included. Doesn't matter that he hasn't a clue what is going on and ignored by his peers.

Excellent idea, I'm definately in me and dd have dyspraxia and ASD. 'This is me' is great because it covers not just people with SN both mental and physical but also anyone who doesn't fit the stereotype of 'normal'. The lack of respect for people who are overweight or have acne etc. is appaling, why do people think they have the right to shout abuse at anyone else!

threesocksmorgan Thu 31-Jan-13 12:13:40

it doesn't does it starlight. I am always scared of anything that will make people think it does.

LabelsGalore Thu 31-Jan-13 12:17:58

I am going for 'This is me' too.

Child x is IN the classroom, therefore included. Doesn't matter that he hasn't a clue what is going on and ignored by his peers.
@Star, you've just hit a very raw nerve here sad

eggandcress Thu 31-Jan-13 12:20:33

I think this is an excellent idea

Fairness. Equality. Dignity. Respect.

(From "Your Human Rights - A Guide for Disabled People")

AllThatGlistens Thu 31-Jan-13 12:45:04

Another one for 'This is me', I'm a mum with one DS (8) who has autism and Tourette's Syndrome and we're currently going through the assessment phase for our 2.4 yr old DS2 who is definitely heading for diagnosis soon.

I'm generally a calm, well mannered articulate person, but if I have to hear one more person tell me 'what a shame it is' or how he'll 'pick up and grow out of it' I think I'll scream.

It make me murderous, heartbroken and exasperated- the level of ignorance and intolerance out there is sickening sad

Ah sorry Labels, but I think this is a real issue in our society.

Some people tend to think that all you have to do is give a wheelchair user a ramp and then you can go back to ignoring them.

But it is much much worse for those with a hidden disability, because THEIR ramps usually require someone to actively engage with them.

AllThatGlistens Thu 31-Jan-13 12:55:03

Couldn't agree more, my elder DS is just described as weird or gets stared and laughed at if he's stimming or displaying his usual traits.

My neurotypical DD is noticing it now and keeps asking why people don't understand that my DS is different, 'just as we all are Mummy, his brain just works a little differently, why are they looking?'

She's 6 years old.

WadingThroughTreacle Thu 31-Jan-13 13:05:11

But if we take our children out of mainstream school, surely the generation growing up are going to be the same ones tut tutting at the theatre in 20 years' time. This is where I struggle with my own situation. The part of me that is already defeated by the last two years just wants to take my child the hell out and slink off to the local special school away from the stares, the judgements, the avoided eye contact and the (not necessarily deliberate) ignorant comments and be happy again, as I'm sure we would be. But there is another part of my brain shrieking, this is wrong!! All we are really doing is teaching our kids that they are not to be inconvenienced, starting with school. Oh I dunno, maybe not the right time for me to be part of this! We shouldn't NEED a campaign, it should be part of society already.

troutsprout Thu 31-Jan-13 13:09:33

Great idea
Hate 'acceptance' and 'tolerance' though... Both feel like a 'crumbs from the big table ' approach....and that just makes my hackles rise .
I would second the idea that this could be about people with sn. Not just children.
<< goes away to think>>

Instead of acceptance and tolerance how about understanding? Or is that too tricky?

zzzzz Thu 31-Jan-13 13:33:12

I think it's a good idea mnhq. I too look for more than Tolerence.

My first thought was "We're here, live with it", but I am having a tough week (British understatement).

I think it might be better as "We're here, live with us".

I'd also like something like "WE ARE MAINSTREAM" grin

beautifulgirls Thu 31-Jan-13 13:38:05

"This is me, understand me and support me..."

I don't like tolerance and even acceptance doesn't really sound inclusive enough. Definitely agree this needs to be about all people with SN not just children with SN.

HeyHoHereWeGo Thu 31-Jan-13 13:46:06

Another vote for "This is me", though also I do like "This is my child" as, in reverse of the comment upthread, I DO think it is good that if people are ignorant enough not to be touched by "This is me" (Well its not me, I'm perfect, your're a retard") how could they fail to connect with "This is my child" because everyone must surely know that a disability could happen to anyones child at any age?

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 31-Jan-13 13:48:19

What about "We're all in this together"

Heyho I think the problem with "This is my child" is that a lot of people have no interest in children and would just switch off. It needs to be something anyone (from school age children to childfree adults) can identify with, which is why I like "This is me".

I worded that poorly - I think I meant 'empathise with' not 'identify with'.

zzzzz Thu 31-Jan-13 14:07:04

I will give you a talisman…

Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.

Mahatma Gandhi

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