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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

elliejjtiny Thu 31-Jan-13 14:27:39

Is this campaign about all children who have disabilities or just children who have learning/invisible disabilities?

Badvoc Thu 31-Jan-13 14:31:53

Tolerated is a shit word.
Don't use that.
Love stars idea btw.
Because all kids with Asd are just naughty you know.
<bangs head against wall>

ohmeohmy Thu 31-Jan-13 14:48:09

Liking your thinking. I'm in.

Lostonthemoors Thu 31-Jan-13 14:48:27

I like this idea- my goddaughter has ASD and I find it upsetting how lacking in understanding of her people can be.

I like these words from a children's song - don't know if they could be useful:

The more we get together
Together, together
The more we get together
The happier we'll be
Because your friends are my friends
And my friends are your friends
The more we get together
The happier we'll be

Lostonthemoors Thu 31-Jan-13 14:49:26

Don't like tolerance either(sorry)

I like:

Equality
Respect
Mutuality
Understanding
Inclusion
Sharing
Uniting

ouryve Thu 31-Jan-13 14:51:36

Wading. My kids are in mainstream at the moment (I'm about to set the wheels in motion to change that for one of them) and it's not for the benefit of people around them. I want to move DS1 to a non-maintained specialist school for his benefit. Inclusion in mainstream is impossible for him, at the moment, because the very act of being in a room with 25 or more other people is torture for him.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 31-Jan-13 14:52:58

threesocksmorgan

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.

We do take issue with that, actually, threesocksmorgan.

It is absolutely not our policy to let vile disablist posts stand.

Any disablist posts reported to us will be deleted.

threesocksmorgan Thu 31-Jan-13 14:56:20

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

we need to stop saying stuff like that. if the sn community thinks being in a wheelchair is somehow easier, how the hell can we get the nt world to accept that wheelchair doesn not??
my dd is in a wheelchair, she can't walk, she needs 24/7 care. it is not easier......or harder.

HeyHoHereWeGo Thu 31-Jan-13 15:13:01

How about
"This is ... Life"
or "This is ..normal"

Or would people not get that having a disability is as normal ie natural as normal is average?

HeyHoHereWeGo Thu 31-Jan-13 15:20:14

You know how all the cool kids say "It is what it is" which is like "whatever"
How about "I am what I am"
So under a picture of eg Steve who has Down's Syndrome, you have a short description eg I am Steve. I love football, shouting at the referee, I hate homework, am trying to stop cursing, and love hanging out with my friends. I am what I am. I'm just me.

Maybe I'm trying to skip the basic stage of explaining what disabilities are, and get to the stage of looking past the disability? Are we there yet or should we start at the basic level of - Give each other a break because you never know what the other person is dealing with...

I agree that tolerance is definitely the wrong word. Disabled people don't need to be 'tolerated'; annoying people who listen to too loud pop music through headphones on public transport usually have to be tolerated. Disabled people (of all ages) are just part of society and should have the right to participate in it as much as they bloody well want to.

I can see where ideas about acceptance would be coming from, but I agree it's not the right word either. I think the issue is getting people to accept that disability is not 'abnormal' (or 'abnormality'), rather than getting them to 'accept' disabled people, if you see what I mean. The problem is that using the word will make people think of the latter rather than the former.

'This is my child' (or simply 'this is me', because children are people in their own right) is a much better idea.

I actually quite like the campaign scope have going on about disability in children's books. The gist of this is that disabled people/disabled children should be more visible in children's books - not specifically as 'disabled people' in books about 'disability issues', just 'there' as a perfectly normal part of society. The same principle can be extended to all manner of cultural forms. There is no reason why disability must always be treated as an 'issue' (and disabled people a deviation for the norm).

HeyHo: I really like that idea. Seeing the person rather than the disability is so important, and it helps to show that disabled people are 'normal'.

threesocks. I have absolutely no idea how you came to read my post as wheelchair users have it easier. They have it more VISIBLE.

threesocksmorgan Thu 31-Jan-13 15:35:53

sorry starlight I still don't get it. so it is more visible....because of the wheelchair!!
how does that make any difference?

How about "I am what I am" So under a picture of eg Steve who has Down's Syndrome, you have a short description eg I am Steve. I love football, shouting at the referee, I hate homework, am trying to stop cursing, and love hanging out with my friends. I am what I am. I'm just me.

I absolutely love that idea Heyho.

MmeLindor Thu 31-Jan-13 15:46:35

Good idea, MNHQ

I don't see why we can't have #thisisme and #thisismychild running parallel (thinking of Twitter here)

We interchanged #webelieveyou and #ibelieveyou

It could be the This Is Me Campaign - those who wish to use the term This Is My Child can do so.

Agree with 'tolerance' being wrong

How about aomehing to do with 'special' - my cousin's ex always referred to people he didn't like as being 'a bit special' - which made me so angry.

I'm not special. My needs are.

But does that sound like I'm saying the person is unimportant?

missalien Thu 31-Jan-13 15:47:27

The idea of a level playing field is thought provoking Maybe something sling those lines , "this is my playing field too"

Peachy Thu 31-Jan-13 15:51:18

If I can help in any way please holler: as you know I have 3 with disabilities and also am half a dissertation away from my MA in Autism. DS1 is a teen now and very good at speaking for himself as well (has been on school councils for a while) so feel free if you need anything from him, there was some talk locally about training him as an awareness speaker.

I also share a hatred of the word tolerated. My boys are lovely, they are just my children: same as anyone else. The things that are harder- such as handing ds4 over each day knowing he is terrified of school- are more difficult I guess but I'd never be without him.

As you will know i've had some horrible experiences- being screamed at so badly by a parent for ds1's behaviour that I hadn't even been told about, so ahrd that I was too scared of doing the school run alone for a good while; having people knocking on my door to shout at me for his behaviour; having to watch ds2 (NT) be attacked at school because it was easier than taking on ds1. hearing someone who said they'd stood at school with me the day before referred to as having stood 'in the leper corner'; being approached by parents angry that the boys are taxi'd to their special schools (2 in sn schools, different ones of course- could never be simple); teachers not realising I could hear a call saying that autism is just bad parenting (don't worry, I know different). I've
had ds1 come home with shoe bruises clearly delineated from being attacked by a group with nothing much done. DS1 made to pay for friendship from his lunch money and nothing much done. Plus the rest of course, all manner of crap.

Anything that can be done with should be.

And of course threesocks is right visible SN isn't easier. It's a whole different ballgame in some ways but not easier. We met up last year: it was a challenging meet up as ds4 kept bolting which is scary but at least ds4 could bolt. I'd have to be stupid to not realise where he is lucky.

Peachy Thu 31-Jan-13 15:54:57

Oh- sorry- yes also:

this me me / this is my child- yes

inclusion: only so far. Can be amazing, can be awful, depends on the child. Many disabled children's lives will have a bit of inclusion and a bit of specialist input: ds1 was in MS until 11, now attends a SN provision.

Whereas ds4 attends a MS provision and is drowning but LEA worship inclusion above all else. It's a balance and only one that can be quantified at the individual level.

FancyPuffin Thu 31-Jan-13 16:11:36

Great idea HQ smile

I like the #thisisme

troutsprout Thu 31-Jan-13 16:23:57

I like this from Heyho

"Maybe I'm trying to skip the basic stage of explaining what disabilities are, and get to the stage of looking past the disability? Are we there yet or should we start at the basic level of - Give each other a break because you never know what the other person is dealing with..."

I'd like to think we could already be past that basic stage of asking for 'acceptance' too.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Thu 31-Jan-13 16:34:41

elliejjtiny I have read it as being all disabilities. It wouldn't be very inclusive to exclude those with physical or sensory disabilities, for instance. smile I guess the problem with MN and society in general is that there are so many people with ASD and other invisible disabilities that we come to dominate these type of threads.

LabelsGalore Thu 31-Jan-13 16:48:41

I really love 'HeyHo' suggestion.
I am struggling to see how that could work with an 'invisible' disability. How could you capture on a photo the disability without giving it a name? Or would it be OK to do so?
Not sure about all that. I am too new on the scene.

Great idea and I am in 100% But I also don't like the words tolerance or acceptance particularly. Don't tolerate my child, inteact with him and treat him like you would another human being. And I agree with other posters, no-one in the UK today would tell us to "accept" people of a different race (although I do suppose some people could possibly think it is OK to say that about sexuality, which shows how there is still a problem there).

dottyspotty2 Thu 31-Jan-13 16:49:24

Whether your child has a visible or invisible disibilty doesn't make it easier for either parent some invisible disabilities are profound others not some children in wheelchairs are fully reliant on 24/7 care others not please don't make this about them and us its not at all.

Also my son is 18 his autism and LD's haven't disappeared because he's an adult but he's still my child, why can't this campaign be about disabilities from cradle to pensioner.

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