by Kim Jaworski, Homeschool Resource Specialist
Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes goes a long way toward encouraging an understanding of their struggles. Exploring disabilities is easy to do with simple things you have at home or can pick up at a pharmacy. Take on one situation at a time. Have your child navigate with this new challenge for a while (long enough that is doesn’t seem fun or novel anymore), then talk about what would make it easier to get around your home or neighborhood if you had this disability for real. What changes would keep you safer, make things more accessible, help you manage more easily?
An eye patch
Ear plugs in one or both ears to simulate a hearing imbalance or deficit.
Wear an ankle weight on just one leg to simulate weakened or damaged muscles in one limb
Try a neckbrace, leg splint/boot, or strap one arm behind your back.
IF you have a friend or family member with a physical impairment, try to simulate their experience. Encourage your child to talk with that person about how they learned to cope and the changes they made at home to accommodate their limitations.
This is also a good time to talk about the dogs that assist the blind or disabled. How they are trained and the kinds of things they can do for the people they serve. Children can better respond in a new situation when they have a frame of reference from your activities at home