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New MN campaign around children with special needs

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


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.


imogengladhart Thu 31-Jan-13 09:27:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mymatemax Thu 31-Jan-13 09:31:45

I love the idea of the campaign

Mayb I would prefer Acceptance is or Inclusion is rather than tolerance

Rather than this is my child... could it be "This is me" that way it could include adults & older children with SN.

TheAccidentalExhibitionist Thu 31-Jan-13 09:38:54

What a great idea. Like everyone else Tolerance is the wrong word. Acceptance and Understanding are better.
We lost a few really good MNetters on that thread so I'm really glad something positive is going to come out of it.

Strongecoffeeismydrug Thu 31-Jan-13 09:45:56

Agree don't like the word tolerance, But I do like this is my child.....he's a person not a DX/disorder

ouryve Thu 31-Jan-13 09:58:21

Tolerance is the bare minimum that even the most misanthropic people should be striving for, isn't it? I prefer to think in terms of acceptance. Acceptance as in these are my children. They're very different from your children in lots of ways that they can't help. Their behaviour is often odd and sometimes very challenging. They are still people with the same right to education, experiences and enjoyment as your children.

coppertop Thu 31-Jan-13 10:01:09

Another vote for "This is me" so that it includes everyone rather than just children.

People with no interest in children are going to automatically switch off at anything with the words "my child" in it.

firawla Thu 31-Jan-13 10:01:51

I like 'this is my child' and yes acceptance sounds better than tolerance.

JeffFaFa Thu 31-Jan-13 10:05:23

not sure if i get to comment as ds dosnt have a dx but i really dislike the world tolerance i dont want ds tolerated i want him understood, appreciated, accepted etc for who he is i like 'this is me'

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 31-Jan-13 10:09:14

'Equal' does not mean 'The Same'.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 31-Jan-13 10:10:48

Physical Inclusion does not automatically mean Educational or Social Inclusion.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 31-Jan-13 10:12:22

I don't like acceptance.

Far too many people 'accept' that my child's disability will mean he will never amount to much, and I just don't.

So please don't 'accept' my child. Engage with him, teach him things, make him laugh.

Itsjustafleshwound Thu 31-Jan-13 10:12:44

Bet you can't ...

Colliewollydoodle Thu 31-Jan-13 10:29:28

I like " This is Me " I'm a mother of DX and ADA son. " This is My Child" ? hmm too often I felt like saying this could be your child!

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 31-Jan-13 10:36:30

Great. Thank you for this.

I agree with the disagreement on the use of the words tolerance and acceptance. I actually feel strongly that the treatment of children (and all people) with SEN and disabilities needs to be seen in the context of equality. It is about rights not tolerance.

For example, it is too easy for people to see occasional buses with ramps for wheelchairs as an acceptable and charitable concession. We need to reconfigure the debate entirely. It is not about charity or pity or kindness. We should ask what sort of wealthy society allows transport to be inaccessible to people when we have the capability and money for this not to happen?

Equality is not about sameness. It is about non-discrimination, creating a level playing field by giving children additional support and making accomodations etc so that they may be given the same life chances as their non-disabled peers.

I have a research proposal in with a leading children's charity on this very issue at the moment. Data relating to the life outcomes of children with disabilities is frightening. They are far more likely to do badly in exams, employment, suffer exclusion and poverty.

The way we treat people with disabilities is a reflection on who we want to be as a society. They are US. What happens to them affects us ALL.

Inclusion is not about integration or tolerance or acceptance, it is about respecting human dignity, human rights and equality.

HotheadPaisan Thu 31-Jan-13 10:36:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

threesocksmorgan Thu 31-Jan-13 10:39:47

why just children?
sorry but this should be about people with disabilities. not just children,.
I do not want people to tolerate my dd, I want them to accept her.
but I do think if MN HQ Are going to back a campaign, they need to get their won house in order first.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Thu 31-Jan-13 10:47:38

How about 'Fully included and not just tolerated?'

Also, as my DS gets closer and closer to adulthood I'm understanding the need to for this not to be restricted to children. It's much easier to 'tolerate' children with disabilities than it is adults. sad

imogengladhart Thu 31-Jan-13 10:51:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmberLeaf Thu 31-Jan-13 10:51:35

This is a good start, thank you.

I also agree that while focusing on children with this being a parenting site is a starting point, our children will grow into adults with disabilities who will be part of society.

I think this must incorperate people with disabilities not just children.

Thank you to Kungfupanda for the initial suggestion and support on that thread.

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 31-Jan-13 10:52:26

Exactly. The last thing you want is a children in need type 'poor little disabled children' campaign. You charitable able bodied folk could make their day with one kind word and £1 in a tin.

We wouldn't like the suggetsion that we 'tolerate' black people or gay people or women. All those equality battles have been going on for a long time and they continue. But on the way, they have changed the way we use language and our attitudes to what is acceptable conduct in society.

We need to see the rights of people with disabilities in the same light, whether children or adults.

That might start with the use of language!

CMOTDibbler Thu 31-Jan-13 10:56:24

I don't have a child with SN. But I do have a parent who has dementia and with her type goes problems with social interactions (ie, she has no social niceties any more), and I see how people treat her - they don't see the woman she was and is, just an annoying, rude old lady.
I'd like a campaign of 'This is me' because its not just about children, its about acknowledging difference through all our lives

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 31-Jan-13 11:09:15

I agree inappropriately.

I think that using the 'racial' test is a good way of doing it.

Should we all 'accept' black people?

Well, yes, of course, but I would feel very uncomfortable being part of a campaign that encouraged this in the UK.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 31-Jan-13 11:11:48

What about a campaign where parents sign up to one session volunteering/being educated at a SN activity.

True acceptance comes from being educated.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 31-Jan-13 11:32:12

And if you wanted to be 'revolutionary' about it, you could call the campaign:

'One Day More' !!!

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