Helping Children Understand Facial Differences

September 13, 2016
Teaching our children to be kind and accept differences can be hard, whether we have children with special needs or not. There are as many different types of special needs as there are families with special needs and each requires its own type of understanding.

Some types of special needs are more clearly visible to the outside world than others. Such is the case with children with craniofacial disorders, which are abnormalities of the face and/or the head. They can occur due to birth defects, disease or trauma and result from abnormal growth patters of the face or skull.

This month marks the 12th year that the Children’s Craniofacial Association will observe September as Craniofacial Acceptance Month. From the CCA website:

Each year CCA families, friends, volunteers and related support groups band together to widen the circle of acceptance for individuals with facial differences. The goal is to create awareness of craniofacial differences and get people to see that “beyond the face is a heart.”

One way to help you or your professional au pair teach your children about craniofacial differences is the accessible book “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio. This wonderful, heartwarming story is about a boy with a facial difference named August (Auggie) Pullman who is about to start in a traditional school for the first time. Told from the perspective of multiple people – including Auggie and his older sister – the book takes the reader through realistic school and family moments while giving the reader deep insight into the thought processes of various key characters.

Learn more about facial differences at the Children’s Craniofacial Association website: http://www.ccakids.com/acceptance-month.html

Learn more about the book Wonder by R. J. Palacio: http://www.ccakids.com/wonder.html