Some people are born with a disability. Other people can get a disability from sickness, an accident, or getting older.
Temple’s brain works differently. Learning to talk, make friends and express her feelings was very hard for her. Having Autism helps Temple to understand animal behavior and she has an incredible memory. With help from her family, teachers, and friends, Temple went to college. She has received many awards for her work to improve cattle ranches.
Erik loves rock climbing and mountain climbing. With help from his friends, Erik is the only blind person to climb Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, and the tallest mountains on every continent. By age 13 Erik was blind. He went to college and became a teacher.
Frida started painting while her body was healing. She became a famous painter. Frida got sick with polio when she was a little girl. Her right leg and foot were not strong after that. Frida did not let polio stop her and went to college to become a doctor. Then Frida was in a bus accident. Her body was never the same.
As people get older, their body parts may start to work differently. Maybe you have met an older person who does not see or hear as well as they used to. Maybe walking is starting to be hard.
People all over the world throughout history have had disabilities. All kinds of people can get disabilities: boys and girls, young and old, rich or poor.
At school you may use paper, pencils, scissors, glue, ruler or computer. At home you may use a fork, spoon, hair brush, toothbrush, remote control, telephone. These tools help you to learn, eat, get clean, have fun and communicate with other people.
People whose legs work differently may need a wheelchair, walker, or cane to move around.
People whose ears work differently may use a hearing aide or sign language.
People whose mouths work differently may use a machine or pictures to talk.
People whose eyes work differently may use a cane or seeing eye dog to move around. They can read with their hands using Braille.
People with disabilities are more like people without disabilities than different. Just like a green apple is more like a red apple than different.
Some people feel uncomfortable when they meet a person who is different from them. Some people make fun of people who are different from them. People might act this way because they do not understand the differences. By learning about the differences, you might find out that you have something in common too.
Imagine that you wore the same clothes to school every day, you ate the same food everyday for breakfast lunch and dinner, you played the same game at recess everyday, and you watched the same movie everyday after school. Life without diversity sounds pretty boring.
People at our school have different hair color, eye color, and skin color. People at our school speak different languages. People at our school have different abilities. It makes our school a great place to be!
Please do not stare. Nobody likes to be stared at. Instead walk up and say “Hi” to them. Introduce yourself. A person with a disability wants to have friends just like you.
Don’t ask “What’s wrong with you?” You will learn more about the person’s difference as you get to know them. If you think a person with a disability needs help, ask them first.