Putting Disabled Children In The Picture
in the picture: "a state of being fully informed or noticed." The Concise Oxford Dictionary scope - Time to get equal



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This is to capture - with permission - your thoughts and ideas about shaping In The Picture. If you have something to say we may be able to add your comment to this guest book.

For more general comments - click here to view.

I am a painter and photographer in the USA now starting to do some illustration. I stumbled upon your site when googling images of disabled children to use as photo references. Absolutely delighted and excited to find your organization exists.
Like In The Picture I am intensely careful to guard against "spot-lighting" or highlighting disability, and want only to make sure it is included in the bigger canvas of humanity. I have downloaded your principles and will hang them up in my studio..a wonderful reminder that other people are working for the same cause.

Nancy Bea Miller, artist

I am an early years lecturer and much of what I teach deals with inclusive and anti-discriminatory practice, issues close to my heart. For many years I have been waging a one woman campaign for more books including disabled children as part of the general story line without drawing attention to their particular difficulty! As part of the course I have a session where the students review these books and share their comments with the rest of the class. I hope that when they go into employment and are buying resources they will embrace this principle and consider positive images when they buy books.

Nia Hall, Early Years Lecturer

I fully support the project for lots of reasons. I have been researching a similar area for several years and am particularly interested in how those working with young children have very little knowledge of where they can find good resources to support inclusive practice. As I teach students on a BA Early Years degree I have tried to signpost them all via lecture content to the website and they have been thrilled to discover what progress is being made. I have also had some input into initial teacher education and in service training - it is worrying that so few professionals are aware of the project or the reason why it is needed. I am really interested to find out if any practitioners [teachers, NNEBs or others] had any training about how to use picture books as a vehicle for teaching about social issues? I look forward to any comments. Keep up the excellent, innovative work and I will try to keep spreading the word.

Karen Argent, Researcher/Lecturer

As a parent of a boy - now 26 - with severe epilepsy, who attended mainstream school I am convinced that the benefits of including disabled children in books in both text and illustrations are enormous - both for the children themsleves but also for their peers..

I think the In The Picture project is brilliant and will make a huge difference to the lives of so many children [and hopefully adults too!]. Well done.

Heather, Parent

I just had to write and say how interesting your project is and how lovely some of your ideas are. My sister, who we lost in '03 when she was 18 had cystic fibrosis. Disabled children were close to her heart also. She taught me a lot. As a volunteer for a toy library I particularly liked the toy library van picture! I also loved looking at the children's pictures. They made me laugh. I like the way you build self confidence. I hope I get the chance to make a difference like you do. Good on you!


As a teacher who works with children and young people with a range of SEN, I am totally committed to genuine inclusion, and I welcome any opportunity to raise awareness of what this really means.

Monica Cooper, Teacher

I run a centre for disabled children and children with medical conditions within a mainstream infant school.

I am always looking for images of disabled children and often find them either too twee or too brutal. The pictures on your site are just what I would like to use in school. If you are encouraging illustrators and authors to include images like these in their storybooks, then that is fantastic!

Tricia Stack, Hounslow Heath Infants and Nursery School

I'm very much in favour of the project and I think it's as important as showing images of gender and different ethnic backgrounds. Including the child with the splint has involved a few redraws and help where I haven't got it quite right, but that is all part of my job as an illustrator and is an interesting learning curve. I'm pleased to show a child with a disability as a main character and the fact that he has such a positive image can only have benefits for children with or without splints.

Jess Stockham, Illustrator - writing about her experiences of illustrating "The Ding Dong Bag" by Polly Peter, Child's Play International.

The photo reference page is a brilliant resource for illustrators. It's so often the lack of knowledge of the visual details of specialist equipment that makes me hesitate to include children with disabilities. Can we have lots more please!

Sue Hagerty, Illustrator

Some of our most fundamental values and attitudes are formed through our early experiences within the family. Giving children opportunities to extend their experience and understanding of disability when they are very young is crucial if we are to create perceptive, sensitive adults who value the individual and see beyond physical differences.

Juliette Collier, Head of Family Learning, Campaign for Learning

It would be lovely to see children with difficulties portrayed as just kids. I have found there are many more children's books available in America than the UK- it seems very shortsighted to neglect special kids in this way.

Karen McNulty, Parent

The Every Disabled Child Matters campaign wants to see positive images of disabled children everywhere in society. We fully support Scope's In The Picture project, and would urge everyone in the children's book world to get involved.

Steve Broach, Campaign Manager, Every Disabled Child Matters

I strongly agree with your aims to encourage the creative departments of publications to include images of disabled children.

Coming across your site has made me look at my own work and see where in future I can include disabled children.

I produce quite a lot of educational illustrations where there are groups of children/people and the illustrations would simply be better for this and more true to life.

I have found the image bank and even the photos on the website very helpful and I have put your site as a "favourite" for future reference. I will be coming back to you for further guidance! Thankyou

Jason Chapman, Illustrator

I am the mother of a bright, inquisitive, nine year old girl who attends our local mainstream school, despite having athetoid cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Unfortunately she has little interest in reading to herself and I believe part of the reason for this is the lack of identifiable characters in everyday children's literature.

Lynne Goodwyn, Parent

Thanks for an incredibly useful site for children's illustrators like myself. You don't just leave us with good intentions, you give us the resources. The image bank has some good examples, and by following the links in your Good Practice Guidelines I found images of equipment I wouldn't otherwise have known how to draw.

In my Hamish bear books, one of the teddies who's always busy racing, going on picnics or listening to stories, is a wheelchair user. I put him in without access to any advice like yours, and yes, I'm guilty of showing him always sitting in his wheelchair. But then, he's great friends with a bear who wears sunshades and who never, EVER gets out of his red sports car. I'll pass on details of your website to all the children's illustrators I know, and I'm sure to consult you for the next books I'm working on.

Moira Munro [www.moiramunro.com]

It is so necessary for publishers to include people who have a disability as part of the stories, they are equal citizens who enhance our lives. It would naturally help towards getting rid of the myths, fears and boundaries that "we" who are more able tend to create

Margaret Cook, Parent/Carer

I think it is a good opportunity for authors to involve disability in books because children with disability would actually know that there are more of them in the world and they are not the only one.

Other people who will read this can understand what it's like being disabled. I am deaf and when I was younger it would have been better for me to see pictures of deaf people and children so I could understand more about it. I didn't see any disability in books and I think that's a shame.

Well I hope there will be more disability involved in the future and it would help children NOW to understand.

It's nice and I hope more authors would include it in their books!

Bye, Tara

As a former Headteacher of a primary school which included many children with physical disabilities, I am delighted to read about this excellent initiative.

It is so important for these children and others to see themselves portrayed as valued and valuable individuals whatever their strengths and difficulties.

Picture books are universally loved and as an author myself, I recognise that we have sometimes been nervous to include images of children of all kinds.

The ten guiding principles outlined in this project are so clear and helpful and give writers the confidence to include disabled children sensitively in their books.

The project has my best wishes and total support.

Neil Griffiths, Children's Author and Storysack® Creator

Children so much identify with the characters in the books they read. It is massively important, therefore, that reading material should contain characters which reflect the great diversity in society. I feel passionately that disabled children should feature in stories and poems, plays and non-fiction writing. This initiative is brilliant and innovative, where the families containing disabled children work with professional writers to produce lively, challenging and entertaining material.
Gervase Phinn, Author

I have a six year old son, with a current level of understanding of a three year old child, but he adores books. Image is paramount to him, so this innovative idea is so exciting and refreshing to parents like myself and I'm so glad that someone has had the foresight finally to realise what's been missing for our children for too long! What a positive step for our future!

Nadine Lautman, Mother

As a Children's Centre Manager working with a wide range of early years children I am thrilled to have found this really useful and helpful website. We are working hard to ensure the wide range of children and their families who visit our Centre are represented in a positive, respectful and realistic way.

This is a great resource for us to use and to really think about the picture books we use and how we use illustrations positively throughout our Centre, thankyou.

Tracie Dodd, Children's Centre Manager

I think the project looks brilliant - it's such a good idea. I've actually copied text from the website and included a link through to our website.
Sally Otter, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

I found the comments of Tony Ross about seeing beyond the disability extremely refreshing. It is totally "normal" for people to have various abilities both physically and mentally, in the same way it is "normal" for us to have different hair and eye colour. When society is geared up for these additional needs as a matter of course, then children will grow up seeing positive images of both adults and children with different abilities and will be able to see beyond the prejudices of the past to see the person within. The In The Picture campaign can only help to reinforce this.

I feel Tony Ross may have been too modest about the impact of his illustrations on pre-school children! As a Registered Childminder I have adapted the text of a book to enable me to pitch the stories that the children choose at their level. The illustrations, however, are what draws them to the book, what they take in as they listen to the story and what stays with them as they make sense of the world they live in.

Saira, Registered Childminder

I am working on a project with my company on a family guide for families of children in the residential home I work in. There are so few illustrations generally available of disabled children that we are having to commission an illustrator to come up with solutions. This project is so timely and could have far reaching implications. Great stuff!

Beverley Samways, Carer

This is excellent. Hopefully authors and publishers will take up the principles and run with them. It's great to see the best children's illustrator on the planet backing it too.

Sarah Graves, Early Support Keyworker

I am the parent of a 3 year old who LOVES books. It was almost his first word and is used liberally to denote anything he likes. When we go to the library he cries when we have to leave. He loves everything about books. As a parent it does upset me that I can't - please tell me if I am wrong on this one - find in main high street shops, books with disabled children and adults in there. The only books I ever see are ones where the disabled child has been shoe horned in or as I saw recently, can give a child a false impression of their own disability by telling children everyone with cerebral palsy can and will walk - it's just a matter of time. Hmmm I did not read that one out loud to my son.

Jane Randall and her son

This project will do something to reinforce the idea that children with disabilities make a positive contribution to our communities. As headteacher of a mainstream school including sixteen children with cerebral palsy, I feel that our children deserve to see other children like them portrayed in a positive and everyday light. They do not have a problem - it is society's perception of them that is the problem.
Peter Farrington, Headteacher, The Prince of Wales School, Dorchester

I think this is an excellent idea, and the only example I have seen of this is in some of the Topsy stories, they are very good.
Lorraine, Mum to Craig

I think it is an excellent project, and hopefully it will mean that disabled children will feature as fully rounded characters in stories in the future, so that all readers come to see the person behind the disability. I also feel that it is extremely important that disabled characters are not included for tokenistic reasons, and that the children featured represent strong and multi-dimensional characters who do not just live in a world of disability.

Fiona M Collins, Subject Leader English Education, Froebel College, Roehampton University

This is such an obvious event. Why has it taken so long for someone to come up with this idea? I can see it taking off in a very big way, and hope soon to see these books in our schools, nurseries, hospital waiting rooms etc. Well done!
Lorraine Sinclair, Registered Nurse and Full-Time Carer


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bookplate ©Polly Dunbar

©Polly Dunbar

 ©Copyright Scope - In The Picture.
Scope: About cerebral palsy. For disabled people achieving equality. Time to get equal