Activities will help students:
- Increase knowledge about people with disabilities
- Explore ways to communicate sensitively with people with disabilities
- What are some disabilities?
- What are the specific conditions of some disabilities?
- What are appropriate ways to communicate sensitively with people with disabilities?
- What are some ways to support and encourage others to sensitively communicate?
disability [dis-uh-bil-i-tee] (noun) a condition of having a physical or mental impairment
sensitivity [sen-si-tiv-i-tee] (noun) an understanding of others’ feelings and emotions
- With a partner, discuss:
- What is the definition of the word disability?
- What are some examples of physical disabilities?
- What questions do you have about certain disabilities?
- Work with your partner to record your short definition and description of the term disability.List some examples of disabilities that can be seen.
- Break into “letter” groups: Group A, Group B, Group C and so forth. Your teacher will assign your letter group a topic to research. (Note: Assign each group one of the following disabilities to research: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, intellectual disability, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, dyslexia, muscular dystrophy.) Use the handout Researching Disabilities to help structure your work. As a group, discuss:
- Did you have any stereotypes about people with this disability before learning more about it?
- How has learning more about this disability changed your views?
- Now have each person in your “letter” group join classmates from each of the other letter groups to form “number” groups: Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 and so forth. Each number group should include one person from each letter group. Each person should present their topic to their new group. (Note: Help students with this jigsaw activity by making sure each number group has one member from each letter group represented.) When presenting your topic to your number group, discuss:
- What are the basic facts about this disability?
- What are the main challenges someone with this disability overcomes daily?
- How can you support someone with this disability?
- Communicating positively and with sensitivity is a key way to help support and include people with disabilities. Use the handout Understanding Hidden Disabilities to complete a Web Quest with a partner. This handout will help you learn tips for communicating with sensitivity.
- After completing the handout, share your ideas with the rest of the class. Discuss:
- What new information did you learn from the website’s tips?
- What are some ways in which you might have been unintentionally insensitive to people with disabilities?
- What are some ways to be more sensitive to others in the future?
- Choose one disability that may not be visibly obvious that you’d like to learn more about. Research the condition and write a short report summarizing the disability.
- Begin a campaign in your school to promote sensitivity towards people with disabilities. Here are some ideas to consider: create posters and hang them around your school or invite speakers to address your student body.
- Research the history of the rights of people with disabilities. Share your findings with your class.