Raising disability awareness is important. It is especially vital for children to learn about people with disabilities at an early age. This will help eliminate prejudice and fear and teach tolerance for those with disabilities. A good way to help children understand disabilities is with hands-on crafts.
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You'll need paper, paint, paintbrushes and a blindfold for this activity. Have your child use the paint to create a picture or story. Then blindfold your child and ask her to draw the same picture again, this time without using her eyes. Gently guide her to feel where the paper, paintbrush and paints are. After she's finished, compare the two drawings. Explain to your child what it means to be blind and how a blind person might function in society. Teach your child that not everyone is able to see and that blind people have to rely on other people and their senses. Talk to your child about how frustrating this might be and how she might help someone who is blind.
For this craft, you'll need some dough and sculpting tools such as Popsicle sticks and spoons. This activity will teach your child what it is like to have a physical limitation. Set out the dough and tools. Tell your child he must keep one hand in his pocket while he's making his sculpture. Then give him instructions on what he should sculpt, such as a dinosaur or truck. When he's finished, talk to him about how difficult it was for him to use only one hand. Explain that there are some people who don't have two hands or legs, and how they have to make an extra effort to do the same tasks that he might take for granted. Ask him how he might help someone who has this disability.
You'll need puzzle pieces, paints, jump rings and beading wire or thread. Have your child paint each puzzle piece either one solid colour or a variety of colours like the autism ribbon. Help your child poke a hole at the top of each piece and use the jump rings to create a necklace, bracelet, key chain or other charm. Explain to your child that some disabilities, like autism, aren't physical. Someone with autism might have a hard time putting his or her thoughts into words. Their brain interprets sights and sounds differently and this is confusing to them. They may express themselves by flapping their arms or throwing a temper tantrum. It is still important to treat these people with respect, and wearing autism jewellery is a good way to show support.
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