WHAT YOU WILL REQUIRE
Give each child a paper plate and let each child draw their faces.
Pick three of the children to come to the front and show their pictures of their face discuss with each child their colour of their eyes, their hair and talk about their similarities.
You could ask questions like:
How many children wear glasses?
How many boys have blue eyes?
How many children have short hair?
Point out something special about each child such as, “This childs face has a nice smile I love this child colour of their hair.”
Then discuss how we all look different but we are all children and that children with a disability may have something different about them but they are children like all you children here today.
DISABILITY DISCUSSION ACTIVITY
Write the word ‘Disability’ onto a large piece of paper on the whiteboard. Ask students to think to themselves of all the things that come to mind when they hear this word. They should note down their thoughts onto post it notes (one note per idea).
When the time is up, ask the students to stick their post it notes onto the paper around the word. Read some of the thoughts out, so that students have an idea of what has been written up. It doesn’t matter if many of them are the same.
Ask for definitions of the word ‘disability’. If they had to explain the meaning to someone who didn’t know, what would they say? Write the suggested definitions onto the board.
Ask the children whether they think this is a good definition. Is it similar or different to what they would have said, in what way?
Split the class into small groups. Give out a selection of magazines and newspapers to each group and a large piece of paper, scissors and glue.
Set the following task:
Select and cut out images of people with disabilities. Decide whether the image is positive or negative and provide an explanation of your interpretation.
Once you have chosen and explained your images, discuss as a group what overall impression you would get of people with disabilities by looking at your images. What effect might this have on disabled people’s lives?
REPORT BACK TO THE REST OF THE CLASS
Referring to the class’s findings, ask them whether they think people with disabilities suffer from discrimination and what sort of discrimination they might face. Why do they think that people with disabilities might sometimes be treated unfairly?
Ask students to think of as many people with disabilities featured in TV programmes and films. Make a list. Then consider the following questions:
Were there many people?
Was it difficult trying to think of famous or well-known disabled people?
Why do you think there are not many disabled characters in popular films/TV shows? The discussion could focus on what society considers to be the ideal type of person and how disabled people do not fit this media image. How might this affect people with disabilities?
Tell the children that they will be conducting an audit of specific areas of the school. The teacher should allocate the areas, for example: a classroom, the library, a school hall, the canteen, the playground.
Using the definition of disability, in small groups, pupils should visit their allocated area and map what they can see.
They should then discuss whether the area they have mapped would be easy or difficult for a person with a disability to access and consider how the area could be improved. They should draw a new map/plan of the area with their suggested improvements.
Their findings should be reported back to the rest of the class. Other members of the class can suggest ideas and the group may accept them if they wish to do so.
In their groups, children should write a letter with their recommendations and plans to the head teacher explaining their findings and reasons for recommendations.
Display the piece of paper with the class’s original ideas of what came to mind when they thought of disabilities. Hand out post it notes and ask the children to think again about the word disability.
They should reflect on what they have learnt from their investigations and discussions and write down any new thoughts.
These should then be stuck around the word on the whiteboard. In pairs, discuss how ideas and perceptions of disabilities may have changed.
Report back summaries of their discussions to the rest of the class.