Addressing attitudes to disability. Training Material. Hazel Jones

Addressing attitudes to disability. Training Material.

Hazel Jones
31 March 1998

A Collection of Resource Materials

Picture the scene: a training workshop is being organised for care staff at a centre, on how to feed children with cerebral palsy. It is well organised, the content is appropriate, varied and practical. A month later, however, nothing has changed, nobody is applying what they have learnt, no child has benefited. Sound familiar?
Whilst working in the area of disability in Viet Nam, Save the Children (UK) (SCF) has often seen good technical training which has very little impact on the lives of disabled people. Participants may have only a limited understanding or awareness of disability and the needs of disabled people. Teachers, for example, who do not regard disabled children as their responsibility, or community workers who only think about treatment for a disabled person, and not about other aspects of their lives. They see no relevance for them in the technical training being provided, and consequently are not interested in applying what they have learnt.
Since 1994, SCF's Disability and Special Needs Programme in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), has supported the development of a community-based approach to meeting the needs of disabled children. Experience has shown us the value of spending time addressing attitudes right from the start. An important part of this work, therefore, has involved organising discussion and training workshops for local partners - officials, teachers, volunteers and parents. The purpose is to raise awareness of the needs of disabled children, address negative attitudes, and help participants to think how they can help these children participate more in the life of the family and community, using locally available resources.
In the course of running these workshops in HCMC, various activities and materials have been developed, which have proved effective in changing attitudes. By producing them in an accessible format, it is hoped that these could also be useful to others both within and outside SCF.