Interactive Disabilities Awareness Education Offers a Lesson in Empathy
October is Disabilities Awareness Month. At Opstad Elementary, students were treated to a special assembly from the IDEA Project, a non-profit organization that provides Interactive Disability Education Awareness in schools.
In addition to a school assembly, each classroom participated in hands-on sensory activities and discussions. Students rotated between stations that simulated the challenge that a person with a disability may experience. Activities touched on fine motor skills, vision, sensory processing, speech/communications, and reading learning disabilities. As a result, students gained a unique understanding by experiencing some of the challenges that students with disabilities may experience on a daily basis.
In thank you letters to the facilitator following the experience, a few 4th grade students shared:
“I liked the I.D.E.A. because it helped me understand the way that other people have to do different things to do ordinary stuff…Thank you for coming to school and helping all the citizens within the school understand people with disabilities.”
“…When you say Disability it sounds like this ability. It makes total sense. ‘A child may have autism but he is not autistic.’ Thank you for helping us understand.”
“I loved learning about disabilities and differences. The next time I see someone struggling with something I will ask if they want help and if they want to play at recess!”
Special thanks to the Opstad PTSA and volunteers who help make this opportunity possible. Below are photos from the assembly and Mr. Cloud's 5th grade class.