International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021
Updated: Jul 21
Easy-Read version of the blog can be found below
According to UNESCO, disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security. As we celebrate United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Protect Children wants to highlight the importance of producing digital safety skills materials that are accessible to all children and families.
Our Stop, Slow & Go learning materials are built around a concept of traffic lights which is a visual cue children with special educational needs (SEN) often use, e.g. to help them understand and manage their own feelings and behaviour. The traffic lights model helps all children grasp the idea of different situations and contents online requiring different actions in order to stay safe. Special needs teachers, who piloted our Stop, Slow & Go learning materials, praised the simplicity of the traffic light concept as well as the adaptability of the learning package to each learning groups’ needs. For example, they were able to use easy-read versions of the stories with older children who have speech and language difficulties.
A report conducted by Internet Matters (2019) argues that many vulnerable children, including those with SEN, are ill prepared for safe internet use or their vulnerabilities are even exacerbated online. If we think of the online environment as an extension of the offline environment, where everything is available just faster and easier, we should understand that those children who require adults’ support offline might need it even more online. Online environments can provide many meaningful experiences, such as opportunities to socialise for those struggling with social skills. Therefore, Protect Children stresses the importance of adults ensuring that all children have access to online environments while being present and supporting children according to their individual needs.
The next step is not only to continue providing appropriate and accessible material to all children but also to provide relevant information to professionals, parents and carers on how to support children with SEN using the internet safely. Protect Children is currently working on a specific guide for parents of children with SEN on digital safety skills focusing on visual cues for those children with speech and language difficulties and on how to take in account the impulsiveness of some children with neuropsychological disorders. “Our Online Road Safety project is based on every child’s right for information, learning, and safety also in digital environments and we will do our utmost to take in consideration all children, including children with disabilities, in everything that we do”, highlights Katariina Leivo, Specialist in Developmental Psychology at Protect Children.
Easy-Read version of the blog:
People in many countries celebrate persons with disabilities today. (disability = a physical or mental condition that makes person’s movements or activities more difficult)
We, at Protect Children, have created school activities that help all children to stay safe when they use internet. The activities that are called Stop ,Slow & Go have traffic lights pictures which are easy for all children to understand. The traffic lights explain what children can do to keep themselves safe on the internet. The green, yellow and red lights all mean different kind of situations on the internet and help children to do the right thing to stay safe. Teachers who work with children who have disabilities have said that the Stop, Slow & Go activities are really helpful.
Children who need adults’ help with activities at home or at school should get adults’ help also when they use the internet. The internet has many good things like meeting new people, learning or having fun. It is important that all children can enjoy the internet!
Protect Children will make some instructions for parents too so that they know how to support children with disabilities to stay safe when they use the internet. It is important that all children can use the internet and stay safe.