Book Week is an exciting time of the year for children and book lovers alike. However, it's essential that we don't forget about the children who may face unique challenges, including those living with disabilities and chronic illnesses. As educators and parents, we can make Book Week inclusive and ensure that every child feels a sense of belonging and excitement towards celebrating books.
Here are some tips on making Book Week inclusive for children with disabilities and chronic illnesses:
Promote Inclusive Books
When choosing books for Book Week, look for books that feature characters with disabilities or chronic illnesses. These books can help children with disabilities see themselves reflected in literature and can also help their peers understand what it's like to live with a disability or chronic illness. By doing this, we actively promote empathy and inclusion.
Create Disability and Chronic Illness Friendly Events
Consider creating disability and chronic illness-friendly Book Week events. You can organize a special storytelling session with sensory-friendly tools like braille books, audiobooks, or books with large fonts. You can also invite a guest speaker who can talk to the children about living with a disability or chronic illness.
Encourage Creativity and Inclusivity In Costumes
Encourage children to think creatively and inclusively when they dress up as their favourite book characters. They can design costumes that accommodate wheelchairs, or choose a character with a disability or chronic illness. This helps open up discussions about inclusion and educating others about disabilities and illnesses.
Promote Inclusivity In Projects
When organizing book-themed projects, make sure to include children with disabilities and illnesses. This could involve providing adapted materials such as larger writing surfaces, modelling clay, or spray chalk. You could also consider including assistive technology in the classroom to make it easier for students with disabilities to participate in book-related activities.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Finally, the school should work to create an environment where children with disabilities and chronic illnesses feel welcome. This could involve training staff on inclusion and accessibility, providing accessible bathrooms, creating a sensory room, or using language that is inclusive and non-stigmatizing.
After all, Book Week should be a time of celebration for all children, and it's our responsibility as the community of educators, and parents to ensure that every child can participate and feel included. By promoting inclusive books and events, encouraging creativity in costumes, including everyone in projects, and creating a welcoming environment, we can help make Book Week a truly joyful and inclusive experience for everyone.