Learning Aims:
The pupils are to become conscious that body fixation is a cultural construction. They are also to become aware that there are no distinguishable borders between a healthy body, disability and handicap, and that the experience to which a handicap is disabling depends upon the existing circumstances and the values held by people. A disability is not necessarily visible. It is also not necessarily permanent, but can be temporary.
A number of cards with pictures of people who have clear disabilities, who have disabilities that are not easily seen, and of people without visible disabilities. The pictures are chosen so that it is not clear what the problem is, or if there is a problem. They are contained in a pdf-file. Print the file, laminate it and cut out the pictures so that each group of pupils can have their own set. Naturally you may replace a picture with another if you have a good example. The people in the pictures illustrate the following:
  1. Woman in a motor-driven wheelchair
  2. Skier with an artificial leg
  3. Woman with an artificial brain-controlled right arm
  4. Football player with artificial leg
  5. Young man with contact lenses, but these are not visible in the picture. He could also have a psychological handicap or no handicap at all
  6. Woman with a hearing-aid
  7. Mother and son who have both injured their arms and therefore both in plaster
  8. Woman in a wheelchair competing in a race for handicapped athletes
  9. Crownprincess Victoria of Sweden testing weelchair basketball
  10. Girl with glasses
  11. Swimmer. The picture does not show if he has any disabilities

Pictures can be downloaded from the Classroom Material.

Suggestions for use:

Begin by asking the following questions of the pupils.

  • Do you know anyone who is perfect?
  • What does it mean to be perfect?

You can discuss these questions with the whole class or ask the pupils to talk together in groups of 2 – 3. While discussing the concept of a perfect body, the pupils will almost certainly bring up body fixation. This is not the aim of the exercise, but it is alright to begin in this way so as to challenge their opinions.

What is perfect? Who decides? What criteria to you use? What if you wear glasses? A hearing-aid?

After that, you can distribute the cards showing people with various degrees of disability. The pictures are chosen to show variation. Ask the following question: When do you have a disability? A handicap?

Think about and discuss who of the people on the various cards have disabilities. How do you know? What problems do you think they have? How do they cope with their everyday lives? Do they face difficult situations? Are there any disabilities that are not visible? What disability aids do you know about?

These are to be seen as examples of questions that can be asked. Choose then one or two of the pictures to discuss with the pupils. Discuss which disability the person has, what can be difficult or problematic and when this can be the case. What is it like to go for a walk in town, in the forest, to go to the cinema? etc. Are there solutions? (Disability aids, adaptation and accessibility) The questions are to be seen as suggestions, and the discussion can take a number of different courses.