Students at Russell Elementary school are observing Abilities Awareness Week in an effort to learn more about people with disabilities. Cindy Szarek, school counselor, helped organize the activities scheduled for the week.
“This year I decided to celebrate Abilities Awareness Week to coincide with the Special School District’s Inclusive Schools Week,” said Szarek. “Each grade level will hear a different presentation about how disabilities affect people. “
Szarek said she hopes to achieve several goals with the scheduled presentations.
“I want the presentations to help address commonly asked questions from children about disabilities, and help children view people with disabilities in a positive way. The presentations should also help avoid the development of or eliminate already existing negative attitudes toward people with disabilities. Overall I want to help the children view people with disabilities in a positive way.”
Kindergarten students will learn about assistance dogs and how the many different ways they can help people with disabilities. In first grade, students will visit with a speaker who is hearing impaired from Paraquad. Students will see how an interpreter helps a person who is hearing impaired communicate.
A presenter from St. Louis Society for the Blind will visit with second-graders. Third grade will learn about learning disabilities from a representative of the Learning Disabilities Association. Fourth grade students will learn about Cerebral Palsy from a family with a child with Cerebral Palsy. Fifth grade students will have a presentation about physical disabilities and how people learn to deal with them.