by Aakanksha Tangri, Founder of Re:Set
If your child is growing up in a multicultural and diverse society such as the UAE, consider your child lucky. Your child will grow up to imbibe the values of inclusion, tolerance and empathy — all crucial characteristics to have. It’s important children are taught early about the benefits of inclusion and that we make it the norm in their daily lives. Inclusion can take many forms, and making an effort to incorporate steps to practice inclusion is fairly easy. Read on as Aakanksha Tangri, Founder of online resource platform, Re-Set, shares easy ways you can do so:
It’s imperative to be honest with your children when they ask you why a person has a disability or needs support in the classroom. Don’t shush them in public or ask them to lower their voice. By doing so, you’re adding to the stigma around learning and physical disabilities. Instead explain why to your child and ask them to go over and say hello to the other person and include them in their activities. You’re going to demonstrate that people of all abilities have a right to be treated with dignity and respect and should not be sidelined.
Make it a point to invite children of determination to your child’s play dates and birthday parties
Pop Culture and Media
What does your child watch? What books are they reading? Are the main characters only people who are neuro-typical or are you encouraging them to read and consume media that is diverse? Media plays an essential role in how we all perceive key issues and the world around us. This is why it’s integral to ensure your child has access to TV shows, movies and books where the main characters are different from them and where characters with disabilities or females aren’t just relegated to the sidelines. Actively search for media that promotes inclusion and diversity to show that people of all abilities can lead a fulfilling life and pursue interesting hobbies and careers.
Actively search for media that promotes inclusion and diversity
Include Everyone Children learn by example. Make it a point to invite children of determination to your child’s play dates and birthday parties as well as encourage your child to play with girls and boys and give them the freedom to explore toys and sports that have typically been gendered. By extending an invitation to children of determination or making sure different genders are included in activities, such as girls being included when playing soccer or allowing boys to play with dolls, it will help inculcate diversity and inclusion as the norm in your child’s life. It might not be easy at first and your child might resist, but be patient and speak to them about why everyone needs to be given a chance to be included and encourage them to see a person beyond their disability.