We had a request from one of our wonderful customers, that happens to be a wonderful teacher. She wanted us to design a custom tag for “Disability Awareness Week”. Her elementary school is in California and is recognizing Disability Awareness Week in conjunction with “UCLA’s Disability Awareness Week” Oct 21-Nov 1. This insightful teacher is running a contest in her classroom challenging her students to come up with a short 3 to 4 word motto for Disability Awareness. This topic struck a chord with us not only because awareness and education of disabilities is important, but also because it hits very close to home in our family business. My sister and brother-in-law’s son, Ryan is autistic (picture below in his brand new senior photo!). Ryan has accomplished so much in his 17 years… starting with helping all of us see the world a bit differently, more pure and truthful. Ryan runs track for his high school and gets thunderous cheers by his teammates – that have come to understand and love Ryan. It has not always been easy for Ryan, but he has persevered and thrived. If the virtue of compassion can be taught in the classroom BRAVO! With this in mind, I researched UCLA’s “Disability Awareness Week” a little more, and soon became immersed in the IMPACT one week each year has made on thousands of student with and without disabilities. I hope it catches on in every school around the world!
At our customer’s request, one of our fabulous graphic designers, Rene, came up with an adorable tag based on the movie “Dolphin Tale” – a true story about an inspirational dolphin named Winter – that sports a prosthetic tail. After seeing the heart warming movie myself, I came up with some fun tips for anyone to incorporate into your own “DISABILITY AWARENESS WEEK”! It’s not to early or too late to jump on the Oct 21 – Nov 1 bandwagon of education and awareness!
1. Read the book “Winter’s Tail” in your classroom. Encourage your students to get involved in a program that helps people (children) with disabilities – learning, physical or both. Have each student wear an awareness tag all week as a reminder.
2. Show the movie “Dolphin Tales”, then talk to your students about acceptance and compassion. Ask how the movie relates to a person with a disability. Let them eat small bags or bowls of popcorn during the movie without using their hands.
3. Run a contest in your classroom challenging students to come up with a motto for “Disability Awareness” for your school. The winner(s) get inexpensive “YOU ROCK” crazy bands.
Quote for the week of Oct 21 – Nov 1:
“DISABILITY IS NOT A ‘BRAVE STRUGGLE’ OR ‘COURAGE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY’. DISABILITY IS AN ART. IT’S AN INGENIOUS WAY TO LIVE.”