Tips on how to normalise diversity in early childhood

Diversity is the norm in modern-day life. Kids come in all shapes and sizes, live in a myriad of family structures, and are born with a huge spectrum of learning abilities. Sadly some stereotypes can still pop up. But, as parents, there’s plenty we can do to normalise diversity, kicking any straggling stereotypes to the kerb. Because a lot of these stereotypes can start at home and in the classroom.

Nobody knows this more than Psychologist and Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) Sarah Clark from Brightstart Specialised Early Learning. This wonderful early learning centre in Kuluin specialises in providing care and early learning for children with disabilities and learning difficulties. Through Brightstart, Sunshine Coast kids with disabilities can access the same early learning opportunities as all children do. Something that is critical for a child to maximise success in later life.

By providing the best early intervention and care, kids with disabilities have the skills to potentially go on to enter mainstream schools. Therefore we all need to take active steps to normalise diversity in the classroom if all kids are to go through school supported and happy.

Dept of Environment Dingo campaign

Here are Sarah’s expert tips on how to normalise diversity in kids.

Be honest

Non-disabled kids need honest answers to questions about diversity and difference. Children are naturally curious and are generally satisfied with a simple
and honest response. Be sure to use appropriate terminology for kids with disabilities.

Explain behaviours

Offer children explanations about what the child’s behaviours might mean. This can help them to understand that something they interpret as ‘naughty’ is the child’s way of communicating a basic need or desire.

Look for things in common

Help Non-disabled children to see and understand what they have in common with children with disabilities rather than differences.

Be mindful of ‘helping’

Avoid encouraging children to ‘help’ children with disabilities when it is not required. Instead, suggest that they ask if help is required and acknowledge that all children need opportunities to do things in their own way and time.

Challenge stereotypes

Challenge stereotyped ideas and discriminatory behaviours where they occur and talk to children about the extent to which this is fair or unfair. Offer alternative ways of thinking about ability and diversity grounded in social justice.

Be a role model

Don’t underestimate your influence as a role model to children in demonstrating respectful relationships and communication with others.

If you need childcare or early learning services for your child, visit to see how they can help.

Glow Sleep Easy MREC

They offer daily childcare, early learning, therapy space, support and an incredibly nurturing service for children with disabilities to offer them the best start in life.


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