Sunday, July 08, 2007

Different Abilities

So I finished my second week at work and this was my first week working with one of the campers I'll be with this summer. She was an 8 year old girl with cerebral palsy who is confined to a wheelchair pretty much all the time. Intellectually she is on par with or superior to her peers, but physically she needs a lot of assistance. She's incredibly independent so it was a pretty easy week for me other than bathroom times and getting ready for water games.

I had the opportunity to do a lot of observing this week. Kids really are good at heart I think. I discovered pretty early on that my kid was really good at explaining why she was in a wheelchair, and was willing to tell other kids. When kids would ask my why she was in a wheelchair I would say to go ask her. They would ask and she would explain. On the last day of camp one of the kids asked on the soccer field. She explained, and as she did, the group of kids grew, and the questions kept coming. The rest of the staff was trying to get the kids into the soccer game but I was thrilled to just let them talk. It's so encouraging to see the acceptance they had for one another, and the willingness to help and include.

Kids are afraid of people who are different. Adults can handle the fear in a few ways:
1) Show fear yourself and unknowingly continue prejudices.
2) Exclude those who are different - ignore the "problem" and teach kids to do the same.
3) Fear is dispelled by information. Teach why the person is different. So many kids think that disabilities or differences are "catching". When they are assured it's not, and they see adults treating all people with value and dignity, they in turn will follow suit. Actions really do speak louder than words. Remember that - always.

On a completely separate note, my sweet hubby is sick still. He seems to be getting worse instead of better, the cough is terrible, and I am getting increasingly worried. Hope he gets better soon! Love you schnooks.


At 2:59 PM, Blogger Miranda said...

I'm so happy you are getting this opportunity! Kids teach us so much!

and "schnooks"? *barf* KIDDING! GET BETTER RICH!


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