Children with cerebral palsy are often singled out at school and in other social settings. They’re left on their own at best—at worst, they’re made fun of and laughed at.
Children are often afraid of or make fun of things they don’t understand. Learning about cerebral palsy, its causes, and what those who have it go through can go a long way towards eliminating the bullying those with disabilities go through.
One way of doing this is through books. Once children see that those with cerebral palsy aren’t that different from them, there’s less of a social barrier.
Different Books, Different Approaches
There are a number of different books out there aimed at educating kids about those with cerebral palsy. Some of these books break it down into simple concepts, covering some of the things that can cause cerebral palsy, some of its most common symptoms, and what kids can do to make those with cerebral palsy feel welcome. They also stress the idea that cerebral palsy is a medical condition beyond the child’s control.
One common criticism of these books is that they are too basic and don’t address the many different forms that cerebral palsy can take. However, they can be a good way of getting a conversation about cerebral palsy started. Many do mention that people have different symptoms and that talking to an adult for more information is always a good option.
Other books approach the topic in a more indirect manner. They feature a character with cerebral palsy, but the main plot focuses on something different. The book may talk about cerebral palsy in a few places, but it’s not the main point of the book. Instead, the author often paints the character with cerebral palsy as being no different than the other characters—they’re smart, kind, funny, and everything that the other characters are. They also often show how what many perceive as a disability can actually be a strength. These books let the readers see that those with cerebral palsy are no different from anyone else.
Showing that Everyone is Human
The goal of these books, no matter what approach they take, is to show that everyone is human and that everyone has feelings that can be easily hurt. Calling someone different or making fun of this is painful no matter what, and these books show that. Many libraries and school classrooms, especially those with students who have cerebral palsy, are making books like these available to all students so they can learn about and understand their fellow classmates.
Do you have a favorite children’s book that discusses Cerebral Palsy? Comment below to let us know what it is!