Children have no guile whatsoever when they first come across disability. Perhaps a "person with wheels", or a lovely doggy with the "person with funny eyes". They might stare in curiosity at "that man's funny face" or ask an embarrassed parent "Why has that child got no hair?"
And the key point I wanted to make in this article is glaring out in that last example. Embarrassed parent.
Children are totally innocent. They haven't learned to judge, it will be years before they know what discrimination or prejudice are. For those first few precious years, they are simply curious. It's their job, it's how they learn.
So little Tarquin or Kylie stare at me on the days I use a wheelchair or supermarket scooter with no shame at all. Shame is something adults create and in turn, inflict.
"Tarquin!! Come away darling, it's rude to stare! NO darling, the nice lady won't give you a ride"
"Kylie! Get 'ere NOW!!! Sorry darlin'. (To me) FUKSAKE, KYLES, NOWWWW".
And so we teach our children not to speak to anyone "different". We teach them that it's rude to even look at people with disabilities. We teach them not to learn about them by asking the questions that stem from their natural, childlike, curiosity.
Is it any wonder we grow into adults uncomfortable around any kind of "difference"?
This lovely list of children's books from Scope make great gifts for young children, encouraging their innocence and natural acceptance. I'm sure you'll be buying Xmas presents in the next few weeks and I'm sure many of them will be for young children, so do consider getting them one as a stocking filler?
Click here to go straight to the website :http://bit.ly/1qFgHAz
Thanks to Scope for sharing it.
Another friend, Virginia Moffat (@aroomofmyown) recommended this book too with a central character with a disability : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-With-A-White-Dog/dp/1846471818 …