Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Module 4 Disabilities Etiquette and Awareness
After reviewing the information from Module 3 on proper etiquette when meeting people with disabilities, I thought the information could be summed up very simply. Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated.
The section on hidden disabilities reminded me of my experiences with my ex-boyfriend who is an amputee due to a motorcycle accident. He has a "C-leg," and when I met him I noticed that walked a bit different, but many people often didn't notice and thought that he had both his legs. For the longest time, I thought a C-leg which mean computerized leg, was a sea-leg. Hee, hee, I thought that it was a waterproof leg like aquaman would have. I learned a lot about amputees and just about people with disabilities in general from my experience with my ex.
One of the most profound things I learned is that even though people knew that my ex was an amputee, they acted like he was "good as new" because of his amazing prosthetic. The truth is that it is a daily struggle both mentally and physically for him, and he really could only walk about a mile or so without discomfort, mainly because the friction from the prosthetic is hard on the skin. Of course, it seems that men/boys with a physically disability often have a hard time acknowledging their hardships. Also, I think many students (but, of course, not all) are uncomfortable being forthright about their learning challenges.
I guess what I am getting at is that it is important to keep in mind that many disabilities are hidden ones. Of course, I think the easiest thing to do is treat everyone with kindness and be observant. If a student is struggling, it is the right thing to ask if they are okay or if they need help just like you would for anyone. I think some people are afraid to address such things, but I see people with disabilities as being just like everyone else. I think everyone has different challenges in life.
Here are some websites on Assistive Technology that I think are useful. I was unable to get them to link in Blogger. This seems to be a consistent problem with this application.
“Teacher Tap,” professional development resources for educators and librarians, is an awesome website with tons of information/links on technology and special needs. This is a must bookmark site in my opinion!
Information and resources for children and adults with disabilities
SCATP (South Carolina Assistive Technology Plan) is federally funded by the US Department of Education of South Carolina. This is a well organized site with links to some great resources. I think this site is managed by a Janet Jendron who is Assistive Technology Program Coordinator at USC School of Medicine.
This webpage created by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory has tables that list the most commonly used AT devices for K-12 students. The table is divided into five AT categories: vision, communication, access, hearing, and learning/studying. NCREL is a nonprofit whose goal is “ improving our nation's schools to make them safe and productive places where children can learn and grow.” They specialize in the educational applications of technology.
Of course, Wikipedia provides a good introduction and has sections on hardware and software.