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WeCanAccess Youth – India 2

calendarOctober 28 2021

Welcome to our 2nd post where we show some of the outstanding work received from Study Hall School in Uttar Pradesh in India on improving accessibility and inclusion. The thoughtful work below was submitted by an pupil at Study Hall School in year 3, aged just 8 years old!

The WeCanAccess Youth activity aims to improve accessibility and inclusion in schools by helping students to have a better understanding of the challenges that their peers with disabilities and special needs may face. It asks pupils to come up with ideas on how they might support and include their friends at the same time as asking pupils with disabilities to explain what actions would help them. We are delighted to share with you some fantastic work completed as part of the project, completed by students of the Study Hall School, which is part of the Study Hall Education Foundation (SHEF) in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Check back here www.wecanaccess.com/blogs for more work from the pupils!

How can I assist friends with special needs?

1. Love Into Action: Often friends with special needs are seen as a burden to the family. We can help them to see the difference it can make to the whole family, when the individual in special needs finds and plays their part in family life. All individuals have the ability to learn something, and so we can raise the expectations of families and show them the possible capability of their disabled relative and so they are less of a burden and more of a valued family member.

A family of 3, mum, dad and child.

2. Ask before Offering help: Don’t assume that my friends in our school who study in “Dosti” with special needs would always require some assistance in leading their lives and the first step is to treat them as equals. Understand that they know more about their needs and how to handle their day-to-day lives. In case, if you want to extend any support, ask first. Understand their needs and learn about specific details on how you can assist.

3. Speak Clearly, And Listen: If you have a loved one or colleague with mental or developmental disabilities, always use simple words. Don’t use complex terms, explain your views in simple sentences and allow them to make their own decisions. Practice restraint and patience while dealing with those with speech disability as they take some time to finish their sentences. Do not try to interrupt the flow of speech by trying to complete their sentences.

character has their hand over their mouth to indicate they are nonverbal

4. Make Changes: If you are expecting a friend with certain disability at home or in office, try making few simple changes that would make them feel comfortable. Place necessary items within their reach in restrooms, bedrooms, offer to help with items in shelves or cupboards. Also try and respect their daily routine and if there is a sudden change in the daily activities help them to cope up with the transition. The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns, with rigorous social distancing norms and having to wear face masks at all times in public places have affected the ease of living for friends with special needs as well, all over the world. In these difficult times, when we are all going through various challenges on the personal, professional and health fronts, some simple steps help to ensure that they can obtain what they need on a daily basis and assure one cooperative and kind society.

5. Make Them Feel Confident: Few of my friends suffer from lack of self-esteem and confidence. Remember, many of them don’t like sympathy and don’t stare at them. Always make eye contact while talking and do not try to strike up a conversation around their disabilities. If you are conversing with a person in a wheelchair sit down and talk face-to-face.

6.Use positive statements: Like, “Think positively” rather than “Don’t complain” “You Can do it” rather than “You are Disabled” “You are Differently Abled rather than Disabled” sets a more encouraging tone when I talk to them in school likewise.

smiling character in a wheelchair, waving to you.

7. Respect Personal Space: People with special needs need their own space and may not like others touching their mobility aids without permission, as you may not know how to handle their equipment. If you want to move their wheelchair, ask for permission. Always knock on the doors before you enter the room, like you do with others. Do not discuss their disability with others.

8. Helping Children with Learning Disabilities: Sometimes we see in the school’s classroom a some of our friends struggle to learn something but not able to do so we should do simple tests to determine which skills the child should work upon first and helping the child improve his basic skills. By implementing some techniques we can assist a child in need.

9. A positive attitude and smiling face: “While maintaining social distancing is the need of the hour to halt the further spread of coronavirus infection, keep in mind to not completely isolate them in your community. Meet with visually challenged or physically handicapped friends and talk to them about constructive topics like work, family, music or discuss happy memories from the past. This helps friends have a sense of belonging and uplifts their overall mood and mental health in these tough times.”

10. Encourage social greetings: In our society, adult hugs friends, not new acquaintances. We should always try to involve them in Birthday parties etc. to make them feel as normal as we do.

“You are not disabled by the disabilities you have my friend! You are able by the abilities you have.”

T is a pupil in the 3rd year. They are aged 8 years old.

To see more of the students’ work from SHEF click here: WeCanAccess Youth India part 1

WeCanAccess Youth

WeCanAccess Youth aims to improve accessibility and inclusion in schools by helping students to have a better understanding of the challenges that their differently abled peers may face. It asks pupils to come up with ideas on how they might support and include their friends at the same time as asking pupils with disabilities to explain what actions would help them. You can find out more about the activity here: www.wecanaccess.com/wecanaccess-youth

If you or your school would like to submit work for the WeCanAccess Youth Project, or if you have any questions about the activities, please contact admin@wecanaccess.com.

Learn more about improving accessibility and inclusion in the classroom. Visit the WeCanAccess Academy for practical and effective toolkits here: WeCanAccess Academy

ABOUT SHEF

Study Hall Educational Foundation (SHEF), an inclusive non-profit organization, runs a network of six unique schools and four outreach programs, educating diverse populations of children and young adults; every school caters to a different segment of society. Over the last three decades, SHEF have trained over 100,000 teachers and impacted over 5 million children (predominantly girls from disadvantaged communities) through SHEF’s various schools and programs.

You can find out more about SHEF here: studyhallfoundation.org/index.php

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