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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

Preparatory Set

Rick Hansen’s dream, “… a world that is inclusive and accessible for all…” is his driving force. His Man In Motion World Tour was just the beginning; his mission will be complete when we have “… an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential…”

  1. Ask your students to read the interview with Rick Hansen and his biography.
  2. Following that, ask students to view one or both of these videos to provide them with a visual reference:

    25th Anniversary - Rick Hansen Man in Motion World Tour

    Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary - The Journey Continues

Activity 1

According to the World Health Organization, “15% of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities. They are the world’s largest minority.”1

  1. Introduce the following definition to your students:

    Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states: “The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

    Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

  2. Discuss this definition with your students within the context of today’s population and a wide range of abilities and disabilities, both visible and invisible.
    1. What are visible and invisible disabilities?
    2. Are all disabilities being treated equally in terms of supports and access to services?
    3. Are some disabilities perceived as being more acceptable than others (i.e. having less stigma attached to them, e.g. a mental disorder versus blindness?)
  3. Ask your students to rewrite the definition to reflect the class discussion under b) above.

Activity 2

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was set up to “Promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity” (Article 1).

Canada approved the CRPD in March 2010. The CRPD contains 50 articles, although the last 18 deal with its international and UN monitoring.

  1. Assign students the first 32 articles to be researched, supported with facts and stories they may find online through media, the government, organizations, and blogs.
  2. Ask students to explain the assigned articles using some of the research they gathered.

Activity 3

Sports played a big role in Rick Hansen’s life before and after his spinal cord injury. He is one of Canada’s most celebrated paralympians. The Paralympic Games, which follow the Olympics each year, began when a doctor, Ludwig Guttman, used sports therapy for enhancing the quality of life for those injured or wounded in WWII. Today the Paralympics are the second largest sporting event in the world.

  1. Have each student choose one of Canada’s paralympians to research and create a visual presentation for the class. The presentation should include:
    1. a 3D model of the athlete
    2. information on what motivated them to become an athlete
    3. their training
    4. their accomplishments - both athletic and other
  2. Display these in your school during your local Disability Awareness Week (DAW).

Activity 4

Linking to the Moments in Time section of this resource, under the theme of this lesson plan Inclusion for All:

  1. Ask students to research one of the events identified under Inclusion for All.
  2. Ask them to write a short opinion piece that includes the following in their reflection:
    1. Media and other events surrounding that particular period and issue (e.g. In 2010, Elections Canada made policy changes to ensure voters with disabilities have barrier-free access to polling stations.)
    2. Was this particular human rights moment in time perceived as an advancement or a setback? Please explain.
    3. Today, would that same moment still be perceived as an advancement or a setback? Please explain.

Culminating Activity — From Reflection to Action

Step one:

  1. Do a walkabout in your school or in your community at large, noting any obstacles or challenges that prevent or hinder some people from carrying out their daily activities.
  2. Many disabilities are invisible and these people also experience many obstacles or challenges in their daily lives. Examine your school or community for these barriers and note what changes are needed to increase the quality of life in the school and/or community for those with invisible disabilities.
  3. Write letters to those responsible for these places asking them to make the changes needed to make these places more inclusive for all in their daily lives.

Step two:

  1. How do people feel, think and act around the visibly and invisibly disabled?
  2. What can be done to make everyone more comfortable?

Extension Activity

The Rick Hansen Foundation School Program offers extensive Teacher Resources for primary, elementary and high school grades. Visit the Rick Hansen School Program for additional student activities.

1 World Health Organization. Disability. Dec 2022