Addressing Negative Stereotypes Against The Physically Disabled

As the previous link to this page pointed out, there is a huge range of physical disabilities that individuals face. For children it can be especially difficult to feel “different” from their peers. Feeling like an outsider can lead to a number of negative habits and behaviors for that student that can hurt that student’s future in and out of the classroom. Because physical disabilities can take on such a wide range of forms, I thought it would be interesting to see what young people are doing to combat the negative stereotypes that surrounded disabilities.

The following link has a detailed list of various advocacy groups that fight for the rights of kids with exceptionalities. [] . Please visit this website to get an idea of the various groups out there fighting to empower our students.

Highlighted Organization:Kids As Self-Advocates (KASA)

KASA is a youth-led advocacy group based out of New Mexico that teaches young people with disabilities how to advocate for themselves. They provide resources for issues ranging from civil liberties, safety, education, sports, health, work, dating and relationships, technology, transportation, and disability history and culture. The organization is headed up by a National Advisor Board of adults but has the mission of training and empowering young people with disabilities to advocate for their own interests.

On the website, the group provides different resources that are “student-friendly” and usually student-created. For example, under the heading “sports and leisure activities,” you can find short articles written by teenagers and young adults about their experiences and the resources they want to share with others.

I find this website to be very exciting because it focuses on the positive ways that people, fully-abled or disabled, are able to unite and work for the greater good fo society!

Highlighted Resource:In The Mix. What’s Normal—Overcoming Obstacles and Stereotypes

“In the Mix” is a national award-winning TV show for teens, hosted by PBS. This is a wonderful resource for teachers and parents! It has student-friendly resources that are “cool” and therefore engaging for students. It is a television serious that can be used by teachers or peer educators to really help students explore their fears and beliefs about issues ranging from sex, stereotypes, violence and love.

In the episode “What’s Normal: Overcoming Obstacles and Stereotypes” we get to hear from young people who have a range of exceptionalities. One girl discusses what it is like to be without a leg and another boy shares his experiences with growing up deaf.

I was very impressed by the resources available that are advocating for the rights of those with physical disabilities and other exceptionalities. I can imagine that students with visible physical disabilities must struggle to fit in one way or another. By bringing resources like “In The Mix” or by encouraging our students to become youth advocates, teachers have the opportunity to broaden every student’s understanding of the world and of himself.

page provided by Najla Husseini