Children's Book, Speech-Language Pathology, Communicative Disorders, Diffability
In the past few decades, responses to people with disabilities have changed drastically. This ranges from legislation enacted at the federal and state levels to the terms used to describe people with disabilities. Today, the best way to refer to someone with a disability is through person-first language, which implies that the person is more than their disability. However, I did not believe that was enough. The word disability still implies that the person cannot do something or is at a disadvantage compared with the neurotypical population. Therefore, when we remove the prefix “dis” and replace it with “diff,” referencing how people with disabilities do things differently, then the new word becomes diffability. By replacing disability with diffability, it removes some of the negative connotations attached to it. Diffability is a more positive term because it implies that a person simply accomplishes things differently.
With the updated terminology for disabilities, I decided to create an informational children’s book. My book features six diffabilities and explains the different ways the characters communicate. This book is intended to teach children ages 6-8 about a variety of diffabilities. The overarching lesson is that everyone is different and the book promotes broad acceptance of people who are not exactly alike. I used a rainbow metaphor to visually and verbally teach this method. The rainbow analogy shows that without everyone involved, the rainbow would be incomplete and less colorful.
Ultimately, the book helps children with diffabilities feel more comfortable with their unique abilities and teaches children that having a diffability is not a negative thing.