Teachers’ manual published on disability in the classroom
A guidance manual on “Teaching an understanding of disability in the classroom” can help teachers avoid stereotypical attitudes in their dealings with disabled students and learn how to treat them like normal students.
“There’s a commonly held view that people need a wealth of specialist knowledge in order to communicate with disabled students. Of course, it’s always nice to have such skills. But teachers often need not so much specialist knowledge but more “social competence”, i.e. having a fundamental understanding of special education needs as well as meaningful contact with a child’s parents and specialists”, said the guidance authors Tatyana Sedovina, Chair of the Archangel regional public body for the protection of children and adolescents with impaired mental and physical development “Zabota” and Elena Shinkareva, a lawyer with the regional public body “Union of Public Associations for the Disabled in the Archangel oblast”.
The guidance manual contains sections on basic theories associated with various types of disability, on issues relating to inclusive education, as well as a detailed analysis of stereotypical practices and mistakes made when dealing with disabled schoolchildren, together with recommended lessons for understanding disability issues in the classroom.
“There’s no need to emphasise a child’s individual characteristics by focusing on their special needs or marked differences compared with other children. Teachers should always find a way of interacting with a disabled child which is either neutral in tone, or one that’s used when dealing with an able-bodied student or pupil” says the guidance manual.
1,000 copies of the manual have been printed. It can be read online (http://sousnko.ru/media/arkhangelsk/pdf) or downloaded free of charge.