As parents of children with special needs you need to be aware of the impact of discrimination in the life of your children. Discrimination against people with special needs includes
• Negative attitude or stereotyped beliefs people have about those who are ”different” or those with disabilities.
• Suspicious lack of trust or uncomfortable way in which people react to the announcement that a child or adult has a disability or special need.
• Fear, worry, and dismay on the part of relatives and friends who find it difficult to maintain ongoing contact with parents of a child recently diagnosed as having a disability.
• Ignorance, lack of information and lack of understanding of people who disregard, neglect, or avoid the parents and children with special needs.
• Cultural and societal stereotypes, prejudices, or bigotry against main streaming people with disabilities or special needs into ”normal” society.
• Hidden, masked, and unidentified lack of pressure on the school systems to improve, increase the funding, and innovate in providing services to exceptional education students.
• Lack of advocacy in terms of full funding, legal action, and policy formulation, in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for the full ”normalized” employment of people with disabilities or special needs.
• Lack of full funding and advocacy for adult day programs, sheltered workshops, supported work programs, and subsidized work programs to meet the employment needs of those with disabilities.
• Lack of full funding, advocacy, and appropriate zoning laws for group homes, supported living and supervised apartments, and subsidized apartments for people with disabilities.
• Lack of full funding and advocacy for the lifelong social, recreational, and leisure needs of people with disabilities.
*Parents of children with special needs can become anti-discrimination advocates for your children. In your advocacy endeavors you will meet others who advocate for people with disabilities, handicaps and special needs. You as advocates, who promote the reduction of the impact of discrimination against people with special needs.
*Continue to lobby forcibly at the federal, state, and local levels for funding of educational, social, medical, and rehabilitative services for people with disabilities. Continue to lobby to open churches or synagogues, social clubs, civic organizations, leisure, and recreational clubs to serve people who have disabilities.
* Instruct the public, medical, and professional communities as to the need for early identification and intervention for those with disabilities. Provide an ongoing forum in the print and electronic media to dispel the myths and stereotypes surrounding people with disabilities.
*Openly confront and educate physicians, relatives, and friends about the nature, cause, and treatment of disabilities. Continue to promote and sponsor fund raising for the private, nonprofit organizations serving people with disabilities and special needs.
*Work with curriculum developers and text-book writers to ensure that stereotypes of people with disabilities are discontinued and that accurate information about people with disabilities is included in the K-12 curriculum, in college, and in medical training programs. Demonstrate publicly that disabilities hit at every socio-economic, racial, religious, ethnic, and regional level in our society.
*Educate the public that having a child with a disability is not the most devastating thing to occur in life. Mainstream and get children with disabilities included into preschools, day care centers, and elementary schools to teach the ”normal-typical” children that they have nothing to fear from associating with these children.