Reed MS Students Enlightened After Experiencing Disabilities

Filed under: Schools |

Reed Middle School students are learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – and that mile may be filled with hardships like hearing/vision impairment, the loss of a limb, or wheelchair confinement. Counselor Terrence Chase conducted a disability lesson with Anne Zelasko’s eighth grade English class on January 23. “I woke up one morning with the idea,” he explained. “I immediately started writing a lesson plan and showed Principal Culbertson when I got to school.”

According to Chase, the lesson was designed to encourage students to be grateful for everyday opportunities like good health, how uplifting mobility is and how having full mental and physical capacity is fulfilling. He also wanted to encourage students to use those opportunities to their fullest, assisting with academic and other endeavors. He obtained ace bandages from a Duncanville High School athletic trainer, glasses from local eye doctors, a “fat” suit from Methodist Charlton Medical Center, and several other supplies.

Students then chose disabilities including loss of limbs, club hand, vision loss, hearing loss, obesity, and wheelchair confinement.  After getting permission from their parents to participate, they came to school and experienced what a “normal” day was like with impairments. “It was hard,” commented Jen Guman. “I couldn’t see, and I had to take a test. People were also calling me Harry Potter.” “I wore the suit and couldn’t fit in my seat,” added Demetrius Carter. “Some people were sympathetic, but some were mean. I didn’t expect that,” said Asia Marable.

Learning that it’s difficult to be “different”, participating students completed the entire day before debriefing with Chase. They talked about the reactions that they received from classmates who didn’t know the disabilities were part of a lesson. “Several students came up with stories to explain their impairments,” explained Chase. They also talked about how they’d treat others with disabilities in the future. “Don’t make fun of people because you don’t know how they feel and what’s going on on the inside,” said Carter. “You wouldn’t want people to judge you, so you shouldn’t judge others,” added Guman. “What makes you laugh now will make you cry later,” commented Marable.