What do you say to a child who wonders about someone with a disability?

June 11, 2013

How to talk to kids (and parents) about disability
Amy Julia Becker wrote this essay for the PBS Parents website.  She talks about the tendency of her children to stare and ask her what happened when they see other children (or adults) using aids such as wheelchairs, crutches, special lifts, or other physical devices. “For a long time, I didn’t know what to say,” she writes, and then goes on to describe what she has learned about how to respond. Her three guiding principles are excellent and are helpful for all of us, regardless of our age, in thinking about disability.  She emphasizes the positive and encourages “conversations [that] invite reciprocity and relationship rather than division and pity.” Amy Julia has given a lot of thought to the topic. One of her daughters was born with Down  syndrome, and she has written about the experience in a book and numerous essays,  including  an article for Christianity Today.  You might also want to read her review of Amos Young’s book, The Bible, Disability, and the Church: A New Vision of the People of God, also on the Christianity Today website.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.