girl in a wheel chairPreschool children will often be very curious when they see a person in a wheelchair. You can’t stop them from staring and it is wrong to tell the children ‘don’t look’ and hurry them past. Instead you should try to answer the questions they have. If you meet a person in a wheel chair it is ok for the children to ask ‘why are you in a wheel chair?’ The person may be happy to tell them.

More often though, children will ask you about the person they can see. This is your opportunity to reply that ‘he’s in a wheelchair because he has trouble walking’. This is the simplest answer that is needed for most situations. Older children may want to know more about accidents and illnesses etc. Try to answer their questions as truthfully and directly as possible.

Children need to know that both children and adults use a wheelchair if they have difficulty walking. Some people use their wheelchair all the time. Some people can walk for short distances and only use their wheelchair for long distances such as getting around school or shopping.  Sometimes another person helps them by pushing the wheelchair.

When you meet someone in a wheelchair teach the children to treat them as they would like to be treated. Someone in a wheelchair might not always need help or want it. Always ask the person first before trying to help. An important message is that people in wheelchairs can do many things that other people can do including school and sports.  

What are the key points I should tell the children?

  • People use wheelchairs if they have trouble walking
  • People in wheelchairs can do lots of things that other people can do including school and sports
  • By making simple changes to everyday objects like ramps instead of steps we can make it easier for people in wheelchairs to get around.


Diversity Awareness LogoHow to ‘Do Diversity’ with childminded children without getting it wrong

So, you want to show Ofsted that you are “doing diversity” in your childminding setting… [read more]



Quiz Yourself

QUIZ: How diversity-aware is your language when it comes to talking about disabilities?

Products that can help you to explore wheelchair users 

Childminding Best Practice Club – themed packs

Childminding best practice club logoJoin the Childminding Best Practice Club and get monthly packs of themed activities emailed to you. As well as art projects with templates, each pack includes a planning guide to help you plan around a theme.

Diversity Awareness Pack

Diversity Awareness Pack for childmindersPrintable diversity craft projects and printable diversity colouring pages to help childminders to teach 20 diversity topics including disability, religion, race, families and multicultural holidays including St. Patrick’s Day. Pack includes a section dedicated to activities you can use to teach children about wheelchair users.




See also: Diversity Awareness, blindness and deafness