Home > Equality & Ability > Explaining a Disability in the Classroom

Explaining a Disability in the Classroom

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Disability Child Classroom Parents

For many parents sending a child with a disability to a new school or new classroom is fraught with worry. Some parents choose to tackle the questions surrounding their child’s disabilities head-on with direct explanations to staff, parents or other students themselves. If you think you might like the opportunity to talk directly to those involved in your child’s education consider the method you would like to use, obtain relevant permission to do so, talk to your child about what you would like to share and then cater your message to your target audience for best results.

Consider Your Method

Most parents who would like to transmit information about their child and his or her disability due so either in writing or in person. Letters to other parents is a great way to be able to clearly give information for a greater level of more complex understanding, but it also puts the responsibility of explaining this information to kids on other parents. This takes the control out of your hands in that other parents may choose not to pass information to their children, or the may not fully understand what they are trying to explain. Another popular method is for a parent to speak with their child’s class directly. This method is direct and helps the parent retain control of the information, however many children will find it embarrassing to have Mum or Dad in their classroom or may not want to be the centre of such direct attention. Consider your child as well as the information you would like to communicate before settling on your preferred method.

Obtain Relevant Permission

While it is unlikely you will need permission to make an appointment to speak with a teacher or classroom aid about your child you will most likely need permission to address a whole class or other parents. Speak with your child’s classroom teacher to find out if (s)he knows the best way to approach seeking such permission. If (s)he does not, move along to a year head or member of the school administration. Be prepared for them to ask for copies of any written materials or lecture notes you plan to use, and for them to need to formally approve such items prior to giving you approval to go ahead.

Talk With Your Child

Prior to going ahead with a letter or presentation speak with your child about your plan. After all, it is both is or her body and life you will be talking about. Ask your child:If (s)he wants you to speak to others about his or her disability.If (s)he would like to be involved in the writing or presenting.
  • What medical information (s)he would like explained.
  • Which details about his or her daily life would be useful as examples.
  • How you could explain the kind of help (s)he might need from others.
  • If there are any items (s)he thinks would be helpful to show others.
  • If there are any items you are not allowed to show or discuss.
  • If there is any information (s)he considers off-limits for others to know.
  • If there are any personal stories (s)he will not allow to be told.

Cater To Your Target Audience

Once you know you can go ahead with your plan and you understand the information and content you would like to discuss, mould your presentation to your target audience. For example, a letter to parents could contain more complex vocabulary and technical jargon while a presentation to children might focus more on age-appropriate examples. You might also decide if you will share any items, such as allowing children to take turns riding in or pushing a wheelchair. Finally, prepare answers to common questions and practice what you will say if you find a question intrusive or embarrassing for your child. Help your child prepare for this eventuality as well.

Explaining a disability in the classroom can be a great way to quickly and easily convey information and answer questions. If you are considering this kind of action be sure to consider the method you would like to use, obtain relevant permissions, talk to your child about your plan and cater the information to your target audience.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I agree with the information on this page. it is quite useful to read and it links with my work.
Hellie - 13-Mar-12 @ 11:22 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Jake250
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    Is my boss aloud to swear and shout down the phone at me? He was quite foul and threatened my job , I’ve worked for the company…
    5 June 2019
  • Donna
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    My area manager in my chemist where I work never felt so disgusted in my life and to be treated in that way is just shocking. I'm…
    13 May 2019
  • Coley
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    Are managers legally aloud to scream shout at people making them feel scared and uneasy, and are they allowed to push and pester…
    3 August 2018
  • Mickey
    Re: Confronting Indirect Racism
    Hectoring jus because you have ethnic minorities in your extended family does not make you less racist. Just as much as a man being…
    31 March 2018
  • Nikki84
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    I am a mobile care and support worker my supervisor rang me to ask a question I was polite she was polite 1 minute later my…
    27 February 2018
  • Lorri
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    My boss constantly lies calls members of staff takes money out the company account, swears at me and speaks about me on an…
    25 January 2018
  • trap
    Re: Racism and the Law
    kek racism isn't reeally a big deal where i live nya~
    3 October 2017
  • Jay
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    @Dancer - are you living in North Korea?! No firm in the UK should be run like this. That said, if you have only been there for…
    8 September 2017
  • Dancer
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    Need advice. I started my job 3 months ago and never really had any training. I've been shown how to do a task and left to it for…
    7 September 2017
  • AboutEqualOpportunities
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    B - Your Question:I am currently experiencing a problem with one of my managers. I am working in Nando’s so that means I have 1…
    29 August 2017