Yesterday we had our final lesson for our unit of study on our Five Senses. This was the special “Disability Session” organized by DeeDee Clarke. DeeDee has been doing this session for the K/1 learners since her daughter Emily Clarke was in my kindergarten class. Emily is now a junior in high school. It was an incredible experience for the children. The learners were divided into three groups and went to each station for 15 minutes. The three stations were:1) Mobility (wheelchair, walker, crutches)
2) Being blind
3) Adapted equipment
We had a wonderful follow-up lesson with the children this morning about what it would feel like to really have a disability that lasted more than 5 minutes.
Here is a description of the stations the children experienced on today: (written by DeeDee)
1) Being in a wheelchair — Demonstrate to your group how to sit in a wheelchair, put on/take off the breaks and steer. Position half the kids in your group at one end and the other half across from them (about 30 feet). Have each student use their arms to push the wheelchair to the other group. Have them put on the breaks, stand up and let the next learner do the same back the other way. They can also experience what it is like to walk with a walker and crutches. Budget your time so that each learner will get a chance to use the wheelchair before the time is up.
2) Being blind — Talk to your group briefly about what it means to be blind. Show your group how a helper can assist a blind person to walk by holding the blind person under their arm and talking to them as they guide them safely. Pair up students. Blindfold one student and have the second student be his/her helper. Have the helper guide the blindfolded student around the courtyard to a target point. Help them switch blindfolds. Have them switch roles on the way back. Start the next pair. Budget your time so that each learner will get a chance to be the helper as well as the person who is blind. While the kids are waiting for their turn, there will be some books in Braille that they can look at and feel.
3) Adapted Equipment — Lead a short discussion on how sometimes people with a disability use special equipment to help them do things by themselves. First, show them a piece of equipment but don’t tell them what it is used for. Second, have them guess what it may be used for. Third, show them how it is used and then choose one learner to try to use it in front of the group. Adjust as time allows.
Button hook — a person with decreased us of one hand uses this to button his/her shirt
Reacher — someone in a wheelchair may use this to open a cabinet, get something down or put something up high
Sock Donner — someone who can’t bend at the waist from hip surgery or a back injury may use this to put on their sock
Key Holder — someone who can’t use their hands very well can use this key holder to make it easier to open locks
Long handled shoe horn — someone who can bend at the waist from hip surgery or a back injury may use this to help get their shoes on
Medicine holder — someone who can’t remember very well may use this to help them keep track of their medicines
Here is a list of some of the things that the learners shared about our session on what it would be like to have a disability.