Though 20 percent of the United States population is disabled (CDC), discrimination against disabled people is at an annual increase of 22 percent in schools and the workplace (EEOC). Only 3.4 percent of schools nationwide teach books about disabilities (physical, mental, and learning) by disabled authors and with disabled characters (CCBC). As a result, 20 percent of disabled students do not feel represented and heard in the classroom (Sayers Adomat). A lack of awareness of the disabled experience leads to an increase in stigmas and bullying. However, a plan can be implemented by teachers to prevent bullying and increase empathy and compassion in their students while also giving them a voice. That is through a diverse selection of books. With persistent ableism in the US, introducing young students to works of literature about the disabled experience in classrooms can act as a first-step combat plan to reverse misconceptions about disabled people in today’s society by providing knowledge early on and introducing ideas of democratic values within students.
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Mufford, Heather. “Disabilities in Middle-Grade Literature .” The College at Brockport, SUNY, 4 May2018, https://soar.suny.edu/bitstream/handle/20.500.12648/6725/honors/236/fulltext%20%281%29.pdf?sequence=1.
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