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Fisher Celebrates Diverse Abilities Day (February, 2008)

Student Experiences BlindnessWilma Fisher Elementary School recently celebrated “Diverse Abilities Day”.   This day is designed to help children develop an awareness of the life challenges that individuals face on a daily basis.  The day offers the opportunity to “Take a Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes”. Ten stations were set up – five in the gym and five in the library.  Each student attended five stations.  The focus of the stations included developing an awareness of hearing loss, dyslexia, autism, varying degrees of blindness, ADHD, muscle limitations due to Cerebral Palsy, the technology used to assist individuals with communication, asthma and other medical conditions, according to Nancy Lawson, principal.

This year, several speakers who face life challenges were present at the stations to provide a real-life perspective on living with those challenges.  In addition, several other volunteers went into classrooms to speak with children and answer their questions about specific disabilities.  Three students – one from Fisher, one from PHMS, and one from Centennial – presented at stations.  They constantly reminded all of us that they are kids first.  Their life challenges are just threads woven in the fabric of who they are.  Nothing more, nothing less.

  

In addition to developing awareness, a major focus of this day is to help children understand that all of us face unique challenges in life.  We hope that our students came away from the day with a firm understanding that they, too, can tackle challenges and conquer fears. Lawson reported that one studentcommented that the next time he starts to complain about how hard his work is, he is going to think twice – “That’s nothing compared to what others deal with on a daily basis.”  Several FISD campuses have incorporated similar programs in their curriculum this year.