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Defenders for Human Rights
Rick Hansen

Rick Hansen Inclusion for All

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GRADE LEVELS = 5 to 12  /  SUGGESTED TIME = Five 60 minute class periods

How to use this lesson

Global and Canadian Defenders for human rights have changed societal conditions and provide inspiration for students. The overall goal of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to raise student awareness that advances in human rights come through the actions of individuals.

In this lesson plan on Inclusion for all you will find:

  • An interview with Rick Hansen including his biography.
  • Student activities that support the theme of this lesson, including reflection activities on Rick Hansen’s life experiences, opportunities for discussion on differing abilities, the Paralympic Games, and an assessment of one’s community in terms of inclusion and accessibility.
  • Three brief community defender profiles to expand the lesson and encourage students to identify with a variety of defenders for human rights.

To support the lesson on Inclusion for all, you will also find:

  • Sections or articles of selected legal instruments that are tied to the theme of Inclusion for all.
  • A student activity that links the Moments in Time timeline of advancements and setbacks in human rights from a Canadian perspective.

You can, of course, choose to use any or all of the suggested student activities.

Learning Outcomes

During this lesson students will:

  • be knowledgeable of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • be aware of people with a wide range of abilities, visible and invisible disabilities, and the challenges they face
  • be aware of how to make society inclusive and accessible for all
  • be aware of the importance of “making a difference” in other peoples’ lives

Student Skills

After this lesson students will have improved the following skills:

  • Adding meaningful argument to a group discussion
  • Gathering, synthesizing, interpreting and evaluating information
  • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
  • Building consensus through cooperation
  • Respecting opposing points of view
  • Creating a visual presentation
  • Conducting an environmental audit of the school and/or community
  • Writing letters of advocacy
  • Implementing advocacy activities

Guiding Questions

  1. To what extent should we strive for greater inclusion? How much support should be provided?
  2. How are those living with visible disabilities treated compared to those with invisible disabilities?
  3. How can the societal stigma relating to disabilities be overcome?


Opportunities and issues related to human rights are integrated throughout the curriculum. This lesson plan suggests student activities that will match curriculum expectations in Language, Social Sciences, Health, Art as well as Health and Wellness, Citizenship, Law, and Technology.


Depending on the activities chosen it may be necessary to have access to a television, the Internet, computers, and/or films (on DVD or streamed) in addition to presentation materials to support individual and group presentations. Some of the recommended materials may have a purchase cost.

Legal Instruments

Speak Truth to Power Canada highlights legal instruments in their simplified forms, which relate to the themes addressed in the twelve lesson plans. Selected articles and sections of these legal instruments are offered in this lesson plan to complement the discussion and the research.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Article 1: Right to equality.
  • Article 25: Right to adequate living standard.
  • Article 26: Right to education.
  • Article 27: Right to participate in the cultural life of the community.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

  • Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms
  • Section 7: Life, Liberty and Security of Person
  • Section 15: Equality Rights

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

  • Article 7: Right to life, liberty and security
  • Article 22: Indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities
  • Article 24: Right to health