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In the picture

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By Susan ClowProject Manager for In The Picture

Scope is a national disability organisation whose focus is cerebral palsy. Its vision: for disabled people to achieve equality. One of its campaigns, Time to Get Equal, includes a pioneering project called In The Picture which aims to encourage authors, illustrators and publishers to embrace diversity – including disabled children alongside their non-disabled peers in illustrations and storylines in books for young readers.

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Sense of isolation

Launched in 2005, In The Picture hopes to raise the profile of the 770,000 disabled children in the UK who have virtually no role models in literature.

The project targets books for younger readers, because they contain the first powerful messages that help children make sense of the world. SCOPE believes that the absence of images of disabled children in these books reinforces the sense of isolation they often experience – and affects the attitude of non-disabled children, too.

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“I think by having disabled characters in books it increases awareness of children … I would like to see it helping children to not stare at disabled people and to have more consideration for disabled people in the community – for example, opening doors for them. I am not put off by books without disabled characters – however, when I do read books with disabled characters in, I feel pleased. One of my favourite books is called Sleepovers by Jacqueline Wilson (who is my favourite author). I like it because one of the characters is disabled and it’s interesting to hear the things that are said about her.”

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