FAC has always been committed to an inclusive and diverse culture. Our mission to change the world for children with autism can only be done when we celebrate our differences and live by our value of a level playing field for all.
We believe that it is important to provide families with resources to learn about and help teach children about racism, equality, kindness, and love. All of these are important to building a culture and world of inclusion.
In this post, you will find helpful resources in the form of age-by-age guides, educational videos, and children’s books, that can help you and your family learn more.
Pediatrician and child health advocate Jacqueline Dougé, M.D., co-wrote this American Academy of Pediatrics article explaining that early conversations can be beneficial. She explained that parents and caregivers can have conversations with their kids as early as preschool because “children can internalize racial bias between the ages of 2 and 4.” The two below articles are age-appropriate guides that can help you speak with your child.
- This Parents.com article explains how families can start a dialogue with their kids about fairness. The article quotes clinical psychologist Allison Briscoe-Smith, Ph.D., who explains that “little kids are very attuned to what’s fair and not fair. That’s a strong basis for discussing injustice.” Each section breaks down how parents can help children of different age groups understand and process what racism is.
- UNICEF posted this article with ideas on how to talk to kids about racism. They offer tips that can help start these important conversations at different stages in a child’s development. They explain that parents may not always have all the answers, and they provide this guide as a supplemental tool.
- Sesame Street released a town hall called Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. In it, Elmo and his dad, Louie, have an open dialogue about protests and racism with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, where she answers questions about combating racism and how kids can make a change.
- The Atlantic created a video called How to Talk to Kids About Race in 2018. Author Jemar Tisby narrates it and offers tips for families looking to start talking to their children about race.
- Author Jelani Memory reads his book called A Kids Book About Racism here. This can be a great way to spark conversation with your child and answer questions that they may have.
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
This book is about fostering moments of mutual understanding, kindness, and acceptance. According to its Goodreads description, “this is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.”
Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
This book, written by psychologists, shows how two families help their children understand race when a shooting happens in their town. The children in the story – one White and one Black, overhear news of the shooting, and ask their parents about it. Its Goodreads description says: “The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.”
Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh
This book is about a family who is denied enrollment at a “Whites Only” school because of their heritage. The family wants to fight for desegregation, so they file a lawsuit in pursuit of justice. You can read more about it here.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
The day you begin is a story about loving each other’s differences and learning to love one’s own uniqueness. Goodreads describes it as a “poignant, yet heartening book about finding the courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.”
Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin
This book is about loving the skin that you are born with. It also covers themes of loving the entire spectrum of skin colors, and learning that everybody’s skin is unique. You can find out more about this story here.
Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, Latoya Council, and Carolyn Choi
This book is about inclusion and celebrating everyone’s differences and is meant to be a starter of conversations about race and inequalities. A Goodreads contributor describes it as a “great book for teaching children about intersectionality and community and difference as a strength.”
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It is important to maintain an open dialogue where your child feels free to ask you questions. While these resources are in no way an exhaustive list of ways to do that, they can help parents respond to any questions that a child may have.
Are you looking for more resources? Check out this Embrace Race article for more examples of how to spark conversations about race with your kids.