What’s the best way of discussing disability with children?
For the first time today, Ieuan has noticed CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell does not have a full right arm. Why today I’ve no idea, but it meant that I felt compelled to talk about disability with him.
CBeebies Presenter Cerrie Burnell
Such is the minefield of political correctness surrounding issues of race, gender and ability these days, I was surprised to find myself struggling to explain. Since my son starts reception tomorrow though, I felt today was a very good time to talk.
Cerrie Burnell is actually a bit of an inspiration, despite the ridiculous parental prejudices which came to the fore via numerous complaints when she was first appointed by the BBC in 2009. Born with a right arm which stops at the elbow, Burnell stopped wearing a prosthetic arm aged 9. Despite also having dyslexia, her accomplishments while growing up included joining the army cadets and working at a leprosy clinic in India. Cerrie now has a young daughter, born in 2008.
So what did I say to Ieuan? I said that sometimes we are born with bits of our body not working (I wear glasses and now have a hearing aid) and that if all our body works we should feel very lucky. I told him that it does not matter if a bit of your body does not work, everyone is special and should be treated with kindness. It’s what’s inside and how we behave that matters most.
I’m not sure I got it right. Discussing disability with children needs to be handled gently, compassionately and openly. What would you have said?
Midlife mum from Cardiff. Wine Imbiber. Likes glitter, fluff and olives. Approaching tweendom with Caitlin (11) and Ieuan (10). The husband is hiding in the loft.
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