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Talking about Race with Our Children

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Talking about Race with Our Children

Talking about Race with Our Children

Mother Father please explain to me
Why the world’s so full of mystery
A place so bitter and still so sweet
So beautiful and yet so full of sad, sad

Dave Matthews Band, Mother Father.


June 19, 2020
A webpage in CPIR’s series Talking about Race


How do we talk to our children about race and violence, what do we say? Their eyes and ears take in the news, just as ours do. Regardless of their age, children are bound to be frightened and mystified by what’s been going on. Add to that turmoil that they also see their parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and family friends full of upset and even outrage, no doubt discussing racial matters with unguarded candor.

So–what do we say to our young people? Is it possible to explain current injustices, let alone centuries-old turbulence and racism? Here are many resources that can help guide our words and actions, ever mindful that the future belongs to them but is being built now.


Talking with our Children about Race and Racial Violence

How to talk with kids about racism and racial violence
(Cómo hablar con los niños sobre el racismo y la violencia racial)
It starts with checking in on yourself, creating safe spaces, listening deeply to our children,  and other helpful actions identified in this article from Common Sense Media.

Racism and violence: How to help kids handle the news
(Racismo y violencia: Cómo ayudar a los niños a sobrellevar las noticias)
Support for difficult conversations. From the Child Mind Institute.

Video | A clinical perspective on talking to kids about racism
38-minute video of advice from the expert clinicians at the Child Mind Institute.

Let’s talk! | Discussing race, racism and other difficult topics with students
Educators play a crucial role in helping students talk openly about the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of social inequality and discrimination. Learning how to communicate about such topics as white privilege, police violence, economic inequality and mass incarceration requires practice, and facilitating difficult conversations demands courage and skill. Teachers can use the strategies in this resource as they prepare to facilitate difficult conversations about race and racism. 24 pages, from Teaching Tolerance.

How to talk to kids about difficult subjects
In a world where even little kids learn about horrific subjects, it’s important for parents to put things in perspective, field questions, and search for answers together.

How do I help my kid understand race?
We are witnessing some stark, disturbing images of the racial divide these days. As parents, we want to shield our kids from the brutality we see on the evening news, yet we know it is important that they understand what is happening and why. We need to talk to our kids about race and identity.

How White parents can talk to their kids about race
A 10-minute listen, from NPR.







10 children’s books about racism and activism to help parents educate their kids
Talking to our children about racial justice and police brutality isn’t easy. Do it anyway.

31 children’s books to support conversations on race, racism, and resistance
Research from Harvard University suggests that children as young as 3, when exposed to racism and prejudice, tend to embrace and accept it, even though they might not understand the feelings. By age 5, white children are strongly biased towards whiteness. To counter this bias, experts recommend acknowledging and naming race and racism with children as early and as often as possible. Children’s books are one of the most practical tools for initiating these critical conversations; and they can also be used to model what it means to resist and dismantle oppression.

Resources for talking about race, racism, and racialized violence with kids
Now here’s a reading list! It’s full of helpful materials, interviews, and to-the-point guidance.

Back to top


Would you like to visit another page in the “Talking about Race” series?

SOURCE ARTICLE: Center for Parent Information & Resources 

504 Plans Article Educators English Fathers Foster/Adoptive High School Parents Primary/Middle School Providers

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Sobre la Sección 504 en español | About Section 504 in Spanish

April 2012, Links updated 2016

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. This law applies to public elementary and secondary schools, among other entities.


Eligibility Under Section 504

Children with disabilities may be eligible for special education and related services under Section 504. That’s because Section 504’s definition of disability is broader than the IDEA’s definition. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to:

  • have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
  • have a record of such an impairment; or
  • be regarded as having such an impairment.

Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, FAPE means providing regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student’s individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.

As explained in Protecting Students With Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities:

What is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity?

The determination of whether a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity must be made on the basis of an individual inquiry. The Section 504 regulatory provision…defines a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The regulatory provision does not set forth an exhaustive list of specific diseases and conditions that may constitute physical or mental impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of such a list.

Major life activities, as defined in the Section 504 regulations…include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. This list is not exhaustive. Other functions can be major life activities for purposes of Section 504.  In the Amendments Act…Congress provided additional examples of general activities that are major life activities, including eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, and communicating.  Congress also provided a non-exhaustive list of examples of “major bodily functions” that are major life activities, such as the functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions… the Section 504 regulatory provision’s list of examples of major life activities is not exclusive, and an activity or function not specifically listed in the Section 504 regulatory provision can nonetheless be a major life activity.

Office for Civil Rights
Protecting Students With Disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities

For More Information on Section 504

There are many sources of information on Section 504, including the document we just cited from. Rather than repeat the excellent work of others, we’d like to connect with it! Use the links below to find out more about Section 504 and what it means for students with disabilities.

Office for Civil Rights
Section 504 is enforced by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Not surprisingly, OCR is a fabulous source of authoritative information on Section 504. The three places you’ll want to check out in particular at:

About disability discrimination and your rights.


Technical assistance documents can be helpful when disability is involved.

Free Appropriate Public Education for Students With Disabilities: Requirements Under Section 504.
From the U.S. Department of Education.

From Wrightslaw’s page Discrimination: Section 504 and ADA, you can dig deeper, finding: FAQs, articles, about accommodations & modifications, case law involving disability discrimination, and free publications.

With an eye to ADD and AD/HD.
From CHADD’s National Resource Center on AD/HD.

A parent’s guide to Section 504 in public schools.
From GreatSchools, with a focus on Section 504 for students with learning disabilities and/or AD/HD in the public schools.

Understanding the differences between IDEA and Section 504.
From LDonline.

504 FAQ.

Sample 504 plans.
Wondering what a 504 plan might look like? These templates and accommodation lists, put on the Web by school districts and disability organizations, can give you an idea of what to look at and look for when working with the school to put together a plan for your child.


SOURCE ARTICLE: Center for Parent Information & Resources

After Graduation High School

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After Graduation Early Childhood (Ages 0-3) Uncategorized

Child Care Crisis Disproportionately Affects Children With Disabilities

(2020, January) | Useful to Parent Centers working with families of young children with disabilities

Most parents in the United States depend on child care to maintain an often-fragile balance between work and family life. Although a shortage of affordable, high-quality care is an issue for all families, it disproportionately affects families of children with disabilities. This 26-page report from the Center for American Progress examines families’ child care experiences when they have children ages 0 to 5 with disabilities and offers policy solutions that are critical to supporting these families. It focuses in particular on the issue of finding child care.

Although the term “disability” applies to a diverse community of individuals representing a broad array of conditions and experiences, people with disabilities often face similar barriers to full participation in social programs and institutions, including child care. Using quantitative data from two nationally representative surveys** as well as qualitative interviews conducted in fall 2019 from a diverse sample of parents across the United States, the report’s analyses demonstrate that families face significant obstacles to finding appropriate child care arrangements. To ensure their children’s care, parents develop complicated arrangements involving formal and informal caregivers, often with significant consequences for careers, financial well-being, and family life.

Access the report, at:


More about What’s in the Report

The report begins with brief stories about Alexis, mother of twins with special needs, and Missy, mother of four, one of which has a disability whose child care program ends at 2 pm. Different in the needs of their children, these mothers share the same vision of their children’s futures and the fact that child care is critical to achieving that vision.

Within this real context, the report discusses the nation’s decades-long failure to invest in child care, which has directly contributed to the lack of affordable, high-quality options. The study undertaken by the Center for American Progress identified many significant obstacles that parents of young children with disabilities face when trying to find child care. Key findings are reported, including how parents managed their individual challenges, patching together help from extended family, child care centers, special education preschool, and nurses and home health aides, as well as making significant changes to their jobs to provide care.

Findings from the analyses are laid out and discussed in sections, including:

  • families’ obstacles to child care,
  • the shortage of care,
  • concerns over quality and safety,
  • the patchwork of care parents often cobble together, and
  • the consequences of not finding care  (especially on parents’ jobs and careers).

Following these analyses, the report discusses three specific policy solutions.

Again, you can find the full report at:


**Note: The two nationally representative surveys were the 2016 Early Childhood Program Participation Survey (ECPP) and a combined sample of the 2016–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH).