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To correct the teacher's wording? (Disability related homework)

(110 Posts)
BerniceBroadside Fri 14-Nov-14 21:03:21

So, it's apparently disability awareness week at school. Jolly good. Little sods might learn that when they grow up they'll need to fold their pushchair if a wheelchair user wishes to board a bus.

However, we have homework which reads, 'List items which a disabled person might use to help them'.

WIBU to amend it to read PEOPLE with disabilities, or perhaps even PEOPLE with additional needs?

Probably worth being THAT parent?

BattlestarSpectacular Fri 14-Nov-14 21:07:48

Well to be honest I think it should be more 'list ways society could change to be more inclusive to those with disabilities'...they are kind of putting the onus on disabled to change to make things easier for everyone else IYSWIM?

Wellthen Fri 14-Nov-14 21:11:44

I think a politely worded note would be ok. Not as complaint, just a point that if they're so inclusive then using the correct language is important. Person first applies to all disabilities/difficulties so teachers should be using it to describe children with ds or autism as well. It is something the head could bring up at training.

Pixel Fri 14-Nov-14 21:12:39

However inclusive society is people will still need equipment to help them. Just because there is a thoughtful ramp available doesn't mean you don't need the wheelchair to get up it so I don't see how that is putting the onus on the disabled person! (or person with disabilities, though I'm afraid I find all the nitpicking over phrasing very tedious).

BerniceBroadside Fri 14-Nov-14 21:14:24

You're quite right. I should amend the whole bloody thing, shouldn't I?

Although It is aimed at younger primary school children so the above is possibly a bit beyond them? So far DC has come up with stick and grabber, like their great grandmother has. I will ask them the above though.

Hatespiders Fri 14-Nov-14 21:15:26

Are you objecting to the plural pronoun 'them' being used as a neutral shorthand for 'him or her'? I think it's quite widely used nowadays and avoids ambiguity or clunky alternatives.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 14-Nov-14 21:16:03

How old is the child the homework is for? Could the homework do the education by starting off with a definition of disability? Something like extracts from this

Wishtoremainunknown Fri 14-Nov-14 21:16:45

No she's objecting to disabled person.

SauvignonBlanche Fri 14-Nov-14 21:16:47

Be THAT parent!

Pixel Fri 14-Nov-14 21:18:05

Bernice have a look here, there is a huge list of disability aids to give you some more ideas.

Pixel Fri 14-Nov-14 21:25:17

Btw for primary children I might be inclined to direct them more towards the kitchen aids etc rather than the toileting section wink.

TyneTeas Fri 14-Nov-14 21:29:16

This guide is useful for terms to describe

paralympics.org.uk/uploads/documents/imported/ParalympicsGB_Guide_to_Reporting_on_Paralympic_Sport_-_June_2012.pdf

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 14-Nov-14 21:30:41

I volunteer for a disability charity, and have done for years, so I am very familiar with the lingo.

The teacher is correct. According to the Social Model of Disability - which most disabled people who are politicially or societally active promote a person is disabled by society but they have impairments.

So the correct language is "disabled person" NOT "person with disabilities" OR "a person with impairments".

Eg of what this means in reality...
"Jane" was born with cerebal palsy and as a result uses a wheelchair. The cerebal palsy is the impairment she lives with.

Jane cannot go to work because there is no accessible public transport in her area. She also cannot go to the shops because none of them are wheelchair accessible. When people meet her, they treat her as if she is stupid and doesn't understand anything they say because she is in a wheelchair.

In this context what "disables" Jane ISN'T her cerebal palsy, but how she is marginalised by society because she lives with cerebal palsy and needs a wheelchair.

Hope this helps

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 14-Nov-14 21:33:28

BTW if the class is doing work around disability aids, maybe suggest to the teacher that they talk about the biggest disability aid of all - which is the willingness of people to recognise the equality of disabled people and to make reasonable adjustments to allow them to participate in society.

Eg for primary students - using a hearing aid might help a deaf child in school. But that is only a fraction of the picture. The inclusion of the child in all school activities is just as, if not more, important.

ReggieJones Fri 14-Nov-14 21:36:03

I've worked with children and young people with autism and other learning difficulties for a number of years. While I don't particularly the term 'disabled people' or 'autistic people' etc I don't know if its actually incorrect or offensive is it? Ideally we would just refer to everyone by their name or as the boy or loves dancing or the girl whos great at drawing etc and just not mention their disabilities. But in this context its ok, I think?

ReggieJones Fri 14-Nov-14 21:36:11

I've worked with children and young people with autism and other learning difficulties for a number of years. While I don't particularly the term 'disabled people' or 'autistic people' etc I don't know if its actually incorrect or offensive is it? Ideally we would just refer to everyone by their name or as the boy or loves dancing or the girl whos great at drawing etc and just not mention their disabilities. But in this context its ok, I think?

itiswhatitiswhatitis Fri 14-Nov-14 21:41:53

Hmm it's a tough one because many disability groups still phrase it as disabled person whereas some use person first terminology. I think it universally agreed that 'The disabled' is not appropriate or acceptable.

I also think what would have been a more valuable excercise would be to get the children to look at their environments and see how they are disabling for others e.g stairs, doorways, access. I think we need to get our future generations thinking in terms of universal accessibility so it becomes second nature to design houses, buildings etc that are accessible to all.

(Sorry bit off topic there!)

BerniceBroadside Fri 14-Nov-14 21:57:10

Some interesting points, thank you.

I think the social model of disability is probably a bit beyond dc, but we could most definitely look at how the world could be made more accessible to all rather than just making a list of aids.

raltheraffe Fri 14-Nov-14 22:00:51

I am disabled and so is DH and what the teacher has written does not offend me. In fact as a disabled parent (or should that be parent with a disability) I would not have even noticed it was worded incorrectly.

SauvignonBlanche Fri 14-Nov-14 22:05:23

I noticed it straight away; not all people with disabilities see things in the same way. hmm

itiswhatitiswhatitis Fri 14-Nov-14 22:21:14

You can do really simple activities with him to get him thinking, for instance if you are in a cafe say "if I was in a wheelchair how would I open these doors by myself, could I reach the sandwich's on the top shelf? Is there room between the tables to get through? Is the counter so high I can't see over it?"

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 14-Nov-14 22:23:00

What Dancing said. "Disabled person" is the phrase a more "right on", possibly militant, disability rights supporter would use, because it references the social model of disability.

raltheraffe Fri 14-Nov-14 22:24:48

I think it is a really interesting piece of homework. If you are going to help your dcs with the piece can I ask that you don't just focus on physical disabilities and cover MH conditions/learning disabilities too.

Nerf Fri 14-Nov-14 22:26:21

What dancing said.

BerniceBroadside Fri 14-Nov-14 22:29:34

Good point, raltherraffe.

I genuinely don't think the homework was referencing the social model because it's basically asking for a list of aids.

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