A Wheelchair for Francis and Learning about Disabilities

The blog post was inspired by a new book that was just published this week- A Wheelchair for Francis!  The biographical story tells of a disabled Ugandan boy, who spends most of his life trying to get a wheelchair.  He grew up being ostracized by his neighbors and told that he should not attend school or be seen by others.

But, he never gave up on getting a wheelchair and being part of his community.  Now, as an adult, he and his wife travel around Uganda giving wheelchairs to people, literally lifting them out of the dirt and giving them a new life.

Francis's wheelchair ministry is called "Father's Heart Mobility."  They work closely with Joni and Friends and other advocacy groups to provide wheelchairs for the people of his country and to speak with kings and communities about acceptance and accommodations.  To date, Father's Heart Mobility has given over 12,000 wheelchairs out, but they estimate that there are still another 100,000 people in that country who need wheelchairs.  Click the link below to read more about the ministry and to donate wheelchairs to those in need.

As a parent and a homeschool mom, I'm always looking for interesting ways to teach my kids about the world.  Much like how "A Computer Called Katherine" could be used to talk about parabolas and equality, "A Wheelchair for Francis" can be a springboard for learning about Uganda, Africa in general, and diversity of abilities.

I was surprised how difficult it was to find good content for learning about disabilities.  I reached out to the Kid Blogger Network to link-up all the posts that they had about the subject.  Then, I turned to Pinterest and Google for more ideas.  I really wanted to cover both visible disabilities, like the ones in "A Wheelchair for Francis," and hidden ones, like the ones some of my kids have.  Below are all the resources that I've found with links for everything.

Helping Kids Learn about Disabilities

One of the easiest places for us as parents to start when introducing diversity of abilities to our kids is movies.  Discretion will need to be exercised on the part of the parents in choosing which video is best for your children, as some of them may be a bit intense or scary for little ones.  Each movie deals with a different type of disability, so I've listed each one next to the movie title.  Click on the colored text to read the description and reviews on Amazon.

Wonder (physical deformity)

I am Sam (developmental disabilities)

Dolphin Tale (amputation)

Radio (developmental disabilities)

Miracle in Lane 2 (wheelchair)

The Horse Whisperer (amputation)

Right Footed (birth defect)

Finding Nemo (physical challenges)

Teaching Kids about Hidden Disabilities

It seems like hidden or invisible disabilities are getting a lot of press lately, and issues like autism and ADD/ADHD even have their own awareness months.  Many of my blogger friends have children with "alphabet diagnoses," and they're sharing their posts with you below.  Click on the colored text to visit the articles.

Teaching Kids about Visible Disabilities

It was a lot harder to find blog posts about visible disabilities!  I specifically wanted articles that talked about how to teach children about the diversity of abilities, not how to teach children with those challenges.  Almost everything I found was the latter.  So you won't have to go looking yourself, I put all the posts below.  Click the colored text to view them.

Toys Featuring Disabilities

Another great way to teach children about diversity of abilities is through play!  These toys feature various challenges and allow kids to express reality with their imaginations.  Of all the toys, the Lottie Doll is my favorite, because she has a life outside of her disability and her cochlear implants don't slow her down from being a wildlife photographer.  My Life As and American Girl both have quite a few differently-abled dolls in their online stores or for special order, but I like that Lottie is available on Amazon and many other places.

I hope I've given you lots of inspiration and ideas for teaching your children about diversity and disabilities.  Please leave a comment to tell me what is your favorite resource for teaching this subject.  Don't forget to pin these images to Pinterest for later!

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