The Kids on the Block Ottawa has the following skits that address various disabilities and disability awareness:

See also The Kids for more information about the puppets


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Brenda and Anna are in the library working on a report when Anna starts behaving in an uncontrolled, disruptive manner. Brenda is confused and frustrated by her friend’s behavior until Anna explains her condition, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), in a way that Brenda and the audience can understand.


David is a fifteen year old boy with autism. His brother Eddy helps their new neighbour, Joanne Spinoza, to understand what it’s like for David to be autistic. Joanne, as well as the children, learn that David is a regular member of the Franklin family.

Cerebral Palsy

“I’m not ‘confined’ to anything, especially my wheelchair,” says Mark. “My ‘cruiser’ helps me to get around.”Mark Riley is a 12 year old boy who is open and articulate about his particular type of cerebral palsy. Script material covers specific issues such as a description of cerebral palsy, Mark’s use of his wheelchair and helmet, and social concerns such as developing friendships.

Hearing Impaired Person

Mandy Puccini is 12 years old and has been deaf since the age of two. As a toddler, she’d contracted meningitis which damaged the nerves in her ears. Mandy wears hearing aids and is able to pick up some loud sounds through them, like thunder. While Penny is looking for her cat, Buttons, she meets Mandy. With Mandy’s help, Penny finds her cat, and in the process, learns a bit about what it’s like for Mandy to be deaf. The skit about a person who is deaf is designed to educate about hearing loss, both the medical condition and the culture. Script material promotes awareness and sensitivity among hearing children, encourages appreciation of differences in each person, explores some aspects of Deaf culture, and teaches some simple signs.

Down Syndrome / Developmental Disability

17 year old Ellen Jane Peterson has Down syndrome. She attends her neighborhood high school and participates in a program which allows her to work at different jobs in the afternoons. Her job coach helps her to succeed in these positions and her favorite, so far, is her current job at the Valley Animal Hospital, where she assists the veterinarian.In the skit, when Brenda arrives at the Valley Animal Hospital to pick up her dog, she meets Ellen Jane, the veterinarian’s assistant. When Ellen Jane tells Brenda that she has Down syndrome and that for her, it means she learns slowly, Brenda is surprised that Ellen Jane can do so many things. Brenda then decides that since she doesn’t learn slowly, she could do a better job than Ellen Jane. When Brenda tries to do Ellen Jane’s job, she gains new respect for Ellen Jane’s skills.

Emotional Behavioural

Jimmy Randolph is a 12-year-old boy who demonstrates the more volatile and acting-out behavior of a child with an emotional and/or behavioral disorder. Script material covers specific issues such as the systematic use of contracts and rewards, the use of individual therapy and family counseling as appropriate strategies for Jimmy, praise and positive reinforcement from his peers, and challenges surrounding friendship and peer acceptance. In the skit, Melody is looking for a place to eat and spots some empty seats at Jimmy Randolph’s table. Melody sits with Jimmy and tries to strike up a friendly conversation. Jimmy talks with Mel but his behavior is inappropriate. He kicks his chair, plays with his lunch box and makes graphic animal noises. Mel ignores this behavior and invites him to work on a book report with her. Jimmy is excited until he realizes he has to go to the mental health care center. His behavior becomes less aggressive as he explains about the center and his counselor.

Learning Disability

“Having a learning disability–I like to call it a learning difference–doesn’t mean I can’t learn. It means that I learn in a different way,” says Jennifer Hauser, who is 11 years old and is featured in The Kids on the Block Program on Learning Disabilities . Jennifer is candid and articulate about her “learning difference” and doesn’t mind explaining to her friend, Melody, about her visual perception problem. The script covers such issues as relationships with family and friends, and explains what Jennifer’s learning disability means and doesn’t mean.Sibling of a Child with a Disability

Sibling of a Child with a Disability (Cerebral Palsy)

For Michael, the identical twin brother of Mark Riley, it is sometimes difficult being a twin and sometimes difficult having a sibling with a disability.Being the Sibling of a Child with a Disability features puppet character, Michael Riley, a 12 year old boy who is open and articulate about life with a brother who has a disability. Script material covers specific issues such as parental attention, accommodations of a sibling’s special needs and general sibling rivalry.

Spina Bifida

“Spina bifida is something I was born with, says Valerie. “When I was born, there was a place in my back where the nerves didn’t come together quite right, so that’s why I use braces and crutches to help me walk.”In the skit, Joanne is practicing for cheerleading tryouts, when Valerie appears. Since Valerie has spina bifida and uses braces and crutches, Joanne assumes she must be in the wrong place. Valerie takes the time before tryouts to clear up the confusion by explaining spina bifida to Joanne.

Visual Impairment

“I don’t mind when you use words like ‘look’ or ‘see’,” says Renaldo, who explains to his friends about what having a visual impairment means for him.In the skit “Secret Code”, when Renaldo tells time using his braille watch, Brenda is amazed. This leads her to ask many questions about Renaldo’s abilities. Renaldo describes braille and explains how his learning to read with his fingers was no more difficult than it was for Brenda to learn how to read with her eyes. Script material promotes awareness and sensitivity toward children with visual impairments, encourages appreciation of differences in each person, and introduces audiences to braille.