Inclusion is a wonderful yet abstract idea. Unfortunately, it does not occur by itself, especially in schools. In order to create an inclusive school environment, literature appears as an impactful and accessible tool. Here are three reasons why this literature matters:
Raising awareness among students
First and foremost, inclusive literature provides opportunities for young students to connect with characters with different yet heroic abilities. While connecting to their lives, they broaden their horizon and open up their mind. The idea of a real-life hero highlights the challenges people with disabilities face, without picturing them as victims or passive characters. The Marvel comics illustrate this idea. Indeed, they feature a large range of heroes with different disabilities. For instance, Professor X and Oracle are super heroes who happen to use wheelchairs. Daredevil developed a super power after losing his sight as a child.
Making students with disabilities feel more included
In addition, this literature can contribute to reduce the feeling of isolation among students with disabilities. Any child needs to relate to a character, a hero. Whether for his walk of life or ability. For this reason, inclusive literature can provide stories for children with disability to cope with their daily challenges. One of the most inspiring example is another comic created by Mohammed Sayed. Mohammed Sayed is an Afghanistan-born American. He was paralyzed at the age of 5 when his house was bombed. The comics he created (Wheelchair Man and Wheelchair Man #2 Captain Afghanistan) bring a strong message of hope and empowerment for children with disabilities all around the world. And his third comic book that is to be released this year will feature a young Indian woman passionate about education : Wheelchair Girl !
Conveying the message of an inclusive society
In order to picture an inclusive society, characters with disabilities should be an integrant part of literature. Librairies should always provide engaging books with interesting characters. And their disability should not be the main reason for the book to exist. We also have to acknowledge that in order to convey this message, literature should be accessible for everyone. According to the World Blind Union, less than five percent of the million books published each year are made available for people with disabilities. For developing countries, it is less than one percent. The Marrakesh Treaty was drafted in order to address this “Book Famine” and to facilitate access to literature for blind, visually impaired or print disabled people.