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Representation in Children’s Books Promotes Disability Inclusion


A survey by equality charity Scope has confirmed how important it is to disabled children to see someone who represents them in books.


The results of the survey carried out with 358 disabled people and parents of disabled children showed the power of representation in children’s books cannot be underestimated.


* An overwhelming nine in 10 (89 per cent) surveyed said it’s important all children can see someone who represents them in books.

·* Seven in eight (87 per cent) said representation in books promotes a more inclusive and accepting society.

·* Two in three (69 per cent) disabled people thought non-disabled people’s opinions about disability would change if they saw disabled people represented in book.


The survey also found:

* Four in nine (45 per cent) of disabled people didn’t feel represented in the books they read as a child.

·* One in three (32 per cent) have read a book where being disabled is presented in a negative way.

·* One in six (17 per cent) of disabled people said they’d stopped reading a book because of a negative portrayal of disability.


The survey comes as the charity has revived some of the stunning artwork from their ground-breaking 2006 campaign, In the Picture, which called for more disability representation in children’s books, for their 2024 Calendar.


The calendar (pictured above) costs £4.99 and is available from www.shop.scope.org.uk.


“When children are introduced picture books and see diverse characters, they’re being introduced the wealth of the wonderful differences that are found in real life,” said Ruth Blazye, Executive Director of Retail and Communities at Scope.


“It was disheartening though to find too many disabled children and their parents said that they’d never seen anyone who looked or talked like them or, if they saw a disabled person, it was in a negative context.


“This sends a troubling message that implies that disability is something to be feared. It can also lead to disabled children thinking they or their disability should be hidden away. These outdated stereotypes to portray disabled people are damaging and belong in the past.”


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