Thursday, October 15, 2009

P.K. Hallinan

ONE of the many things I wish society would do differently in regards to handicapped children is adding pictures of them more frequently in books and on television. I'm not talking about a sweet little book about the little boy in the wheelchair and how he uses it. I'm just talking about having the little boy in the wheelchair be some part of the story, maybe even the hero of the story, without having to mention his wheelchair. I think there is a downsize to stories about wheelchairs for children because it draws attention to the chair instead of to the child that's in that chair. I know there are plenty on their who know someone who is just an incredible person who just so happens to be in a wheelchair.

One of the author's that I believe does a good job of this is P.K. Hallinan. 'When I grow up' is just one example. His stories just have a little boy in a wheelchair scattered throughout the book, without mentioning the wheelchair itself. Now I will have to say that not ALL of his books do this, but there are quite a few.

Now before you mom's who might not have a child in a wheelchair dismiss this post as not pertaining to you. WAIT
How much better for your child to see on a casually basis pictures of children in wheelchairs? How much more prepared would your child be when seeing a child in a wheelchair? Yes, it seems like a small insignificant thing, but I think it's big. I think it's really big. I want my son to go into McDonald's just like any other boy without children staring and whispering. (yes, granted that is incredible normal) but don't you believe that it would be a lot less striking of a sight if your child had books or shows that had children in wheelchairs on a regular basis. So here's what I'm asking of everyone reading this: (Whether you be a grandma, aunt, cousin, friend, or sunday school teacher) could you find a book for whatever children are in your life with pictures of a child in a wheelchair? Maybe we can really start someting. Not just for Toby but for all those children who truly want to be seen for you they are and not for what they are sitting in!

P.K. Hallinan is the only author I have found so far that does this. If you know of any other's please let me know!!


Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) said...

I think this is a HUGE issue!!!!

I just noticed yesterday while Julia was watching a show we'd never seen before called Pinky Dinky Do that they casually have a character in a wheelchair without making any reference to it. I've only seen the show twice, but I did notice it... I'm not sure if it occurs often or not.

j said...

thanks for saying this. as a teacher i try to be sensitive to this perspective, the difference does not define the person!

CupHolderGuy said...


I came across your site from a Google alert for "wheelchair". Since my product's blog is related to this, and because Google is fond of content related links, I was hoping you'd be interested in a blogroll link exchange. This is where I link to your site, and you link to mine.

For examples of this (under the "Blogroll" category on the right side of my blog), for more information on my product/blog, or to contact me, please visit .

Thanks in advance for your consideration.


PS I admit the above is a form letter I submit to a lot of sites, as getting link exchanges is a huge numbers game. But I found your article rather interesting, and although it's not a book, I have noticed a lot of tv programs showing more children in wheelchairs. The big one that comes to mind is Sesame Street, especially Elmo's World, when they ask different kids how they do things, there's almost always one of the children in a wheelchair or differently abled. I agree with your point, the more children are exposed to others who may not be exactly like them, the less likely they'll be surprised, which reduces the chance of someone feeling uncomfortable.

Monica said...

Hey, Kari.

Not in regards to wheelchairs, but walkers. Matthew LOVES the Yo Gabba Gabba show. There have been several episodes where they have children dancing in walkers just like Matthews. And I have seen episodes of Little Bill where they have a child with Cerebral Palsy in a wheelchair.