IDD, or Intellectual or Developmental Disability in full, is a disability affecting a person’s mental or intellectual capacity. Individuals with IDD are often misunderstood; nowhere is that as stark as when they’re kids. While most kids will have difficulties learning things, kids with IDD can take longer to grasp things others find simple. Teaching kids about IDD is essential to enable them to relate better with kids with developmental disabilities. It also helps them be more understanding of developmental disabilities and grow to become advocators for children and people with these with IDD.
So, how can you get kids to understand there isn’t much difference between them and their friends with IDD? This article will explain practical ways to help kids learn about IDD.
Tips for Teaching Children About IDD and Encouraging Inclusion
There are several ways to teach kids about Intellectual or Developmental disabilities. Here are the six best ways:
1. Utilize Age-Appropriate Language
Teaching kids about developmental disabilities can be difficult if you don’t simplify the language to suit their age. After all, the topic is scientific and has terms children would struggle to grasp. However, that doesn’t mean watering down the content of your teachings.
Explain developmental disabilities to children in a manner they will easily understand to drive home the point. Though it could take some time, children can quickly catch on when you simplify things. Learn not to shame differences kids notice in other children. Instead, help them make sense of the intellectual differences while highlighting the similarities between that person and the child.
2. Encourage Questions and Take Advantage of their Natural Curiosity
Children will notice differences between them and other people. Encouraging the child to ask you questions can help them understand a specific disability. When they ask the questions, take that opportunity to discuss differences people might have and explain some of the differences.
It is okay for a child to feel confused over the differences in developmental abilities with a fellow child. However, by letting children ask questions, you will be normalizing confusion.
3. Let the Children Meet Others, Children or Adults, With IDD
For kids, it’s always easier if you can show differences rather than explain them. If the kids have never met someone with IDD, try to arrange for that to happen. That exposure could be crucial to how quickly they understand and accept the differences and see them as normal.
The more they mingle with children with developmental disabilities, the more they see them as any other person. Introducing them to such kids will also equip them with the empathy to treat other kids better.
4. Show Kids Videos or Movies with the IDD Topic
Technology has made teaching so much easier than in the past. So why not use it to teach children by showing them videos or movies about the IDD topic?
The videos will build a natural curiosity in the children and give you a chance to explain things better. Demystifying the developmental problem will go a long way in helping the kids understand the affected kids.
5. Insist on the Kids Being Kind and Empathetic
By insisting on kids being kind, you encourage them to step in whenever they see bullying of kids with developmental disabilities. It also means inviting excluded kids to their friend groups and looking out for their peers likely to be isolated.
Talk about the harm of excluding others from social groups to boost inclusivity. It would be best to address any conflicting feelings kids might have when interacting with kids with IDD. Sometimes children don’t reach out because they’re embarrassed. Help them deal with these feelings well to ensure they always do the right thing.
6. Encourage the Humanizing of Kids with IDD
Rather than letting children refer to a friend as asthmatic or autistic, please encourage them to refer to them as persons with asthma or autism. Not only is that more inclusive language, but it also helps a child to humanize a person with developmental disabilities. As a result, they will relate better with such persons and include them in their social groups.
Why Do Kids Need to Be Taught About IDD?
Everyday life for children with developmental disabilities can be a harrowing experience. Their peers often don’t understand them and most likely discriminate against them.
The following can inform why kids should be taught about Intellectual or Developmental disabilities.
To Prevent Bullying of Children with IDD
Kids with developmental disabilities are an easier target for bullies. They’re, therefore, more likely to be bullied in school or at home than other kids, which could lead to them withdrawing further into their shells.
However, the bullying could be because the bullies don’t understand the person with IDD. If other children understand and appreciate the differences between them and kids with IDD, bullying can be avoided. And that’s why teaching children about IDD is a good idea.
To Prevent the Social Isolation of Kids with IDD
Children with IDD are often socially isolated because other kids do not understand them. Teaching them about IDD can help them understand the challenges faced by those with IDD and be more supportive of them. Inclusive games can be a great start for everyone.
To Stop Discrimination and Misunderstandings
Teaching kids about developmental disabilities means they’ll be less likely to discriminate against kids with such disabilities. Most of the time, discrimination is borne from people not fully understanding others.
That could cancel any little inclusivity kids with IDD could enjoy by isolating them from potential social groups, fortunately, with proper education, that can change.
Teaching children about Intellectual or Developmental Disability will help reduce the implicit bias they’re likely to mete out on other kids with the disability. Hopefully, the strategies we have shared here have offered valuable tips on teaching kids about IDD. If you teach kids correctly, they will build empathy and make the world a better place for children with developmental disabilities.
Kids with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities need not suffer for something that isn’t their fault. That’s why enlightening children about IDD is necessary to improve society for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Venture Foundation creates public awareness about individuals with developmental disabilities. We rely on donations and our fundraising events to continue raising this awareness.
If you wish to support our cause, contact us and see the available support opportunities.