An able approach to disability

2nd February 1996 at 00:00
The Challengers and he Land of Droog. Video, factsheets and teacher's guide. Scope, 12 Park Crescent, London, W1N 4EQ. Pounds 10 inc pp.

This pack of materials for primary pupils aims to raise awareness about cerebral palsy. Many schools have children with cerebral palsy on roll and these materials will help to explain the ways in which they would like to be spoken to and treated.

The main part of the pack is a 15-minute video animation which shows the adventures of a group of youngsters, two of whom happen to have cerebral palsy. Rick, a new member, joins the gang asking if one of the boys is spastic or just daft. The group is transported to the Land of Droog, where they are threatened by the Emperor because they dare to be different from the robots of Droog.

Next to Mad Max and Terminator, the Emperor and his verbal warnings may seem a little tame, but the video nevertheless makes its point well and Rick eventually comes to see his new friends as people rather than stereotypes.

The characters talk about ways people with cerebral palsy face prejudice and ignorance every day, and the video entertainingly raises and deals with important issues.

Accompanying the video are six topic cards and a teachers' guide. The cards cover some of the material on the video: medical terms; sign language, awareness exercises, physical obstacles, games that disabled children will do well, and a quiz. The guide also gives advice on where discussion of disability can fit into the national curriculum. For instance, the design of wheelchairs for design and technology.

Although children are less inhibited about difference than adults, better understanding is needed and this pack helps to promote it. It will build on children's spontaneous kindness and thereby help to foster empathy and sensitivity.

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