Disabled Characters in Search of an Author

By Orjasaeter, Tordis | UNESCO Courier, May-June 1986 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Disabled Characters in Search of an Author

Orjasaeter, Tordis, UNESCO Courier

Disabled characters in search of an author

IT is important for handicapped children to meet themselves in children's books, to see pictures and read about children like themselves, their lives, problems, feelings, circumstances. And it is important for other children to get acquainted with handicapped children.

Mentally retarded, physically handicapped or other disabled children almost never see children like themselves on television or in films, unless the programme specifically concerns handicapped children. They almost never belong to their environments in the mass media as naturally as other children do.

During the last decade quite a few books have appeared about handicapped children, but many of them are not good enough. They often activate our mechanisms of rejection and make integration even more difficult. Because literature influences us for better or for worse, especially when we are children, it is important to evaluate it critically.

There is the hidden rejection found in many well-intentioned books where healthy young people who meet handicapped persons are filled with gratitude for their own good health. The underlying attitude is that the normal thing is to be healthy, beautiful and charming--and the handicap somehow is a kind of punishment for our sins.

The blind characters in children's books are mostly girls--it seems so suitable that girls should be sweet and gentle and play the piano. The characters in wheelchairs are mostly boys, extraordinarily clever boys, the best companions anyone can think of and such excellent referees in a football or baseball game. The handicap is compensated far beyond reasonable limits.

There are so many misleading books about mentally handicapped children.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Disabled Characters in Search of an Author


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?