Talking About: Physical & Developmental Disabilities

You can use these talking points to discuss physical and developmental differing abilities with your children. Use your parental discretion when determining which topics are appropriate for your child. For additional support when you sign up for A Magic Penny event, we will provide you with talking points about the specific organization we are partnering with.

Physical Disabilites

  • Some people’s bodies don’t work the same as yours…
  • People with disabilities may not be able to walk or run the way you can…
  • Some people can’t move their arms or legs as well as you can…
  • A person whose body works differently still has thoughts and feelings just like you…
  • A child with disabilities is still very much like you on the inside…
  • Friends with differing abilities can participate in games and sports in their own way…

Developmental Disabilities

  • Some children don’t learn the same way that you do…
  • Some people’s minds work a little differently than yours…
  • Sometimes you can’t see a disability if it doesn’t affect a person’s body…
  • Sometimes a child with differing abilities finds it challenging to talk to another person…
  • Some children need special help to play with friends or to learn at school…
  • People with differing abilities are still very much like you…
  • Friends with differing abilities can participate in games, sports, school, and playdates in their own way…

Adaptive Sports and Playgrounds

  • When playgrounds, bikes, and other sports equipment are built for differing abilities, they are called “adaptive”…
  • A game or sport that people of all abilities can play is called “inclusive…”
  • At an adaptive playground, you might see a ramp to get on a play-set…
  • Play structures can have wide spaces for wheelchairs to fit through…
  • Swings and bikes can be built to hold up children if their bodies don’t work the same as yours…
  • When children experience how differences are okay, they can be friends with children of all abilities…

What We Might See

  • If a person’s body doesn’t work as well as yours, what might he use to help him move?…
  • You may see crutches, wheelchairs, neck braces…
  • Some children’s bodies might move like yours but they can’t see or hear as well as you…
  • Some children need a cane, special glasses, or a hearing aid…
  • Some families speak using sign language…
  • Some children with differing abilities are working on understanding personal space…
  • Some people with disabilities find it challenging to look in another person’s eyes when speaking to them…

What We Can Do

  • We can be friends with people with differing abilities…
  • It’s okay to feel a shy or confused when a person looks or behaves differently, but that feeling goes away after spending time with that person…
  • We can accept and include everyone so we all have fun…
  • We can cheer on people playing wheelchair hockey, basketball, quad rugby, hand-cycling…
  • It’s okay to be curious about why someone looks or moves differently than you…
  • Rather than stare, point, or whisper, you can smile and talk directly to that person…
  • You can ask questions like, “Is it okay if I look at your wheelchair?” “Would you mind if I ask you a question?” “How are you able to get dressed?”
  • Offer help before doing it. People with differing abilities can do things themselves that may surprise you…
  • Have fun! People with differing abilities are very much like everyone else…

Created by Tracy Wiessbrod. © 2016 A Magic Penny. All rights reserved.