July 29, 2021

A novel thesis addresses functional diversity in children's books

A novel thesis addresses functional diversity in children's books

Not all children's literature does a correct treatment on functional diversity in children, according to a doctoral thesis of the University of Alicante (UA) made from the opinion drawn by Spanish families of about thirty titles of this genre.

The researcher of the UA and author of the thesis, David Belda Martínez, has carried out this novel work in Spain with the aim of providing a guide to children's literature on functional diversity at the service of teachers in the inclusive school.

"I think it is a very interesting work to be focused on the opinions of mothers, fathers, brothers and grandparents of children with functional diversity, who are the ones who know this topic better and who until today had not had the opportunity to be able to evaluate this type of readings ", highlighted Belda Martínez in statements to Efe.

He pointed out that "when a work of children's literature deals with this subject, it is talking about a group of people with characteristics and peculiarities that make them special, and one of the great problems is that, when people are talked about, it can affect both for good as well as for bad ".

"And as we continue to see today, it is a very vulnerable group that continually suffers the consequences of a society that continues to exclude, marginalize and discriminate against anyone it considers different," he added.

More than 150 families from different Spanish provinces, 88 of them from Alicante, have participated in this innovative initiative voluntarily, highlighted the author of this doctoral thesis, who obtained the outstanding cum laude at the UA.

Among other conclusions, Belda Martínez argues that "most of the works analyzed are a good educational resource and can help the teacher to work with them values ​​of integration and acceptance in the inclusive school".

He also considers that "not all children's literature does a correct treatment on functional diversity", because "there are books that do not present in an objective and adjusted way the reality and characteristics of these people".

In his opinion, "a revision of this type of literature should be done before being presented in the classroom by the teacher".

From the point of view of the families that have participated in the study, some of the analyzed titles that best reflect the functional diversity are, among others, "El cazo de Lorenzo", by Isabelle Carrier, or "The girl who walks between aromas ", by Ariel Andrés Almada.

They also highlight "Ojo de nube", by Ricardo Gómez; "My feet are my wheelchair", by Franz-Joseph Huainigg, and "Superheroes", by Roberto Aliaga (author) and Roger Olmos (illustrator).

Specifically, "The saucepan of Lorenzo" is one of the examples of children's literature whose contents better and more faithfully treat functional diversity, in this case, autism, have assured sources of the UA.

Works aimed at children up to 12 years of age have been analyzed – the field of work is oriented to early childhood and primary education – published in Spain and whose latest edition has come to light as of January 1, 2000. they have discarded adapted or easy-to-read books aimed exclusively at children with functional diversity.

"We obtained a total of 155 titles, which were classified by the type of functional diversity they treat (physical, visual and intellectual), also indicated the age of the child to which each reading is intended," said Belda Martínez.

In a later phase, he detailed, "a final selection of thirty books was made according to a series of literary aesthetic criteria, which were distributed among the participating families so that, through a questionnaire, they could give us their opinion about it. "

"This initiative of the author of the thesis follows the guidelines of the legislation of the inclusive school, which places great emphasis on the family to help the teacher and can comment and contribute their knowledge", have informed sources of the UA.


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