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Some people with a disability may go to a local school, others a special school.

To read more on the difference between the two please click here. In this video we went to visit The Langside School in Dorset which is a specialist school for disabled children. We also met 21-year-old Catriona who has a disability called Downs Syndrome and 17-year-old Beth who has a disability called Cerebral Palsy. Watch the video above to see what they like about school.

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There are all different kinds of disabilities, and it can be hard to know how to act around someone who is disabled. Ruby went to visit a Junior school in Surrey to get their opinion on what being disabled means and how you should act around someone who’s got a disability.

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More than half a million children under the age of 16 have a disability in the UK.

Many schools have children with disabilities and there’s a lot of debate about the best ways to help disabled children learn.

At their local school

Children with a disability may have a helper with them in lessons and sometimes get taken out of class for separate teaching.

The government have put rules in place to help protect disabled children in local schools.

The law says that teachers are not allowed to stop them from doing certain things, just because of their disability.

For example, they cannot stop a child in a wheelchair from having playtime just because they may need more help moving about.

Teachers cannot tell a child off if they have difficulty concentrating or writing because of their disability, but instead should give them extra help.

In special schools

Some disabled children need more help than local schools can give, so go to a special school where the teachers have more time to spend helping them.

A few special schools let their students board which means they live there most of the time and only come home in the holidays.

For some disabled children, special schools are the best thing for them.

Everyone has the right to choose what school is best for them, whether special or local, without being asked why or stopped from going to the school they want to go to.

However, if a local school can prove a child will affect the learning of others in the class, they can be stopped from going to that school.

A couple of years ago the debate re-opened because the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said all children with disabilities should be able to go to a special school if they want to.

This means many more may be separated from you and the other children at your local school. To hear what children at a junior school in Surrey think being disabled means, please click here

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If you don’t have a disability it can be hard to know how to act around someone who does – we’ve answered some of your questions.

1) What is a disability?

Someone with a disability may think, act or look differently to you and they may be slower at learning. Having a disability means you may need some extra help in a certain aspect of your life whether it’s help with school work, moving around or emotional support. To hear what children at a junior school in Surrey think being disabled means, please click here.

2) Are all disabilities the same?

There are many different types of disability, but they tend to fall under two categories: physical and intellectual. Intellectual is also known as having a ‘learning difficulty’.

If someone has a physical disability they are likely to look or act differently to you. They may need help moving around, some might even be in a wheelchair.

If someone is intellectually disabled they can find learning difficult. If you see them walking down the street, you may not be able to tell  that they have a disability because they don’t look different but can find school work very hard.

3) How should I treat someone with a disability?

It’s important to remember that although people with a disability may look, act or think differently, they still have feelings like you, so they should be treated the same way you would treat anyone else. To read what sporting star, Ade Adepitan, has to say about how to treat someone with a disability, please click here.

4) Someone in my class has a disability and is being bullied what should I do?

Bullying is not a nice thing to happen to anyone. It can make you feel sad and uncomfortable. If you know someone who’s being bullied, you should talk to them about how they are feeling. You should encourage them to tell someone older, and someone they feel they can trust like a parent, older brother, sister or teacher. For more advice on what to do about bullying please click here.

5) My friends make fun of me because my brother’s in a wheelchair and can’t talk properly, it’s making me feel unhappy at school and embarrassed, what should I do?

You shouldn’t be embarrassed by your brother. He can’t help having a disability. Please click here for more advice on what to do if you’re being bullied.

6) My friend has a disability, but I’ve never known someone with a disability before so I don’t know how to act around her.

Talk to your friend and ask how you can help make things easier for her. Invite her to join you and your other friends at playtime so that she feels more included.


To read how charities can help disabled children and their families, please click here.

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Sport can play an important part in our lives because it improves our ability to move, communicate with others and helps make us feel good about ourselves.

Kitty became paralysed when she was 7-years-old which means she can’t move her legs and uses a wheelchair to get around.

She loves playing wheelchair basketball and is looking forward to watching the Paralympics in London later this year. To see what Paralympics sports star Ade Adepitan has to say about living with a disability, please click here.

The Special Olympics teaches sport to disabled people and they have lessons all over the world. They want to raise awareness about including and respecting disabled people in the community.

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Ade Adepitan is a 38-year-old Paralympics sports star from Nigeria, in Africa.

When Ade was a baby he got a virus called polio, which meant walking was difficult as he became paralysed so couldn’t use his legs.

Ade moved to England when he was three years old.

Despite his disability, Ade spent a lot of his childhood playing football with his friends and dreamt of one day playing for England.

He started playing wheelchair basketball when he was 13-years-old after he was spotted being pushed along the street in a Tesco’s shopping trolley.

Ade loves moving around in a trolley because it was the only way he could keep up with his friends.

He really enjoys playing wheelchair basketball: “it makes me feel good and when I’m playing nothing else matters other than being the best player that I can possibly be.”

What are the Paralympics? And what’s it like to play in them?

Ade has played in a number of Paralympic games.

The Paralympics are a sporting competition for disabled people.

“The atmosphere is incredible. In fact the whole competition feels like a dream that you hope will never end.”

The Sydney Paralympics in 2000 was the first international competition in which he played wheelchair basketball.

He said it “will always have a special place in my heart, just thinking about it makes me smile. Pushing into the Olympic stadium and hearing 110,000 fans cheering was amazing!”

In 2004 Ade won his first medal, a bronze award at the Paralympics in Athens, which was something he had always dreamt of.

But what does Ade have to say about living with a disability?

Ade has lived with a disability all of his life.

He said it can be difficult, “but life is not always easy, and it’s the tough times and what you learn from them that can make you successful.”

Ade has always enjoyed challenging himself to be better and likes the competition in sport.

“The most important thing to remember is to find something you love doing that your passionate about, believe in yourself, work hard, and your disability will not hold you back.”

As well as playing for the Paralympics, Ade has also presented a large number of television programmes including: XCHANGE and Sportsround, which are unfortunately no longer on TV.

Ade said he decided to go into TV presenting because he “wanted to have a career after sport and like sport it provides exciting challenges.”

If you know someone with a disability it is sometimes difficult to know how to react or what to say to them.

Ade believes you should follow the rule ‘treat people how you want to be treated’.

“If there is something you don’t understand, ask. Don’t make assumptions.”

To watch a video on disabled people and sport, please click here and to find out what having a disability means and how you should treat someone with a disability, please click here.

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Ade Adepitan - Photograph taken by Kelly Hill

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There are lots of charities who help children with disabilities, including: Whizz-Kidz, Action For Kids and many others.

The KIDS charity helps make the lives of disabled children better.

They organise fun events, play games and teach them about their right to be treated well in the community.

Louisa Jennings, works for the charity and said: “I decided to work for KIDS as the inclusion of children and young disabled people is as important to me as it is the charity.”

Louisa enjoyed working on a family fun day event that she helped to organise last year.

They played games and gave out prizes.

She said the event gave “children and young disabled people and their families a rare chance to come together.”

The charity encourage disabled children to realise they can achieve their hopes and dreams just like everyone else.

The KIDS charity also helps the families of disabled children.

Children with disabilities often need a lot of care and attention which can be difficult for their mums, dads, brothers and sisters.

The charity helps by talking to the families of disabled children and telling them about advice groups they can join.

They also run fun activities for the brothers and sisters of disabled children to do together.

For more information on the KIDS charity, please visit their website by clicking here.