November 2015 Newsletter

On books…
My daughter was curious about dyslexia recently and so we went to the library to find resources that will aid in helping her understand this specific condition.  I was pleased to see that most libraries have a good selection of books on various disabilities.
How do books on other disabilities help your child?  Well, whether you have discussed your child’s disability with them or not - they know.  They know that they are “different” and so pointing out differences in other people helps your child put their difference in context.  You are, in a sense, telling them that “you are not unique and not alone.”  Though the disability that they may read about in a book “looks different” they can relate to it because they can hear that other people have struggles also.  They can also hear that those struggles, whatever they may be, are manageable and ultimately, this is what your child needs to hear – that their disability is manageable. 
So, head out to the local library and check out what books on disabilities are available and spend some time reading with your child.  If the library does not have what you are looking for, they can help you find it.  More importantly though you can ask them to get that resource and add it to their collection. 
You can also find a great selection of books on amazon by searching for: books on disabilities for children
And on movies…
Movies serve the same purpose as books, but in a more powerful way, because they bring the issue right to your home via your TV screen.  And the actors of that movie can become part of your household for the time that you are watching that movie.  Recently, my daughter and I watched a movie about a blind boy who wanted to run on his school’s cross country team.  Of course, running cross country is a HUGE challenge for someone who can’t see!  I won’t give away the story but suffice it to say that the hurdle was overcome and the boy ran and won a race.  The story was so inspirational for my daughter because she could see that what seemed impossible, turned out to be possible.  And if it is possible for someone to overcome that challenge, then she can certainly overcome some of her challenges.
Finally on toys…
There has been a BIG movement toward making dolls that celebrate disability.  The #ToyLikeMe movement sets out to celebrate disability in toys and calls on the global toy industry to better represent the 150 million children with disabilities worldwide.  Toys, and dolls specifically, give the child with a disability another social connection to their own disability as well as the myriad of other disabilities experienced by other children.  It’s yet another way for your child to say “I am different and that’s OK”.
Children with disabilities don’t need to be shy and self-conscious anymore – they are celebrated more and more each day in books, movies and toys.  So, help them get a better sense of themselves by reading, watching and playing!

Stay well and connected,

Mayya Saab