Think This is Easy?
Disability Awareness Training Overview
• Upon arrival participants are informed that:
o Restrooms are “inaccessible” to them, they must use the restrooms next door
o If they choose to smoke, eat a snack or drink a cup of water they must ask for assistance with that task
• Participants are paired randomly in teams of 2-3
• Training is performed by Access Center Staff and Volunteers all of which have some type of disability and typically the disability being experienced.
1. Cognitive Impairment -Participants experience auditory, thought and visual confusion through completing a series of oral and written exercises.
2. Visual Impairment1 -Participants experience visual disorientation by being blindfolded and led through an obstacle course. During the journey certain landmarks, specific turning instructions and tactile experiences occur. At course end the participant must find their way back to the starting position using a combination of alternative senses. At the conclusion of the activity the participants learn proper ways of approaching, assisting, and leading someone who is visually impaired including tips on how best to work with individuals and their service animals.
3. Visual Impairment2 -Participants experience additional visual impairments such as detached retina, glaucoma, tunnel vision, macular degeneration, etc.. Participants perform various tasks while experiencing the impairment.
4. Speech Impairment -Participants expérience communication impairment. They are offered a selection of materials such as marshmallows, bread, donut, cotton balls or gauze to stimulate speech impairment and hold a short two-way conversation.
5. Hearing Impairment -Participants experience a hearing impairment. They are asked to insert ear plugs in their ears and then are asked to repeat what is said to them. Various degrees of impairment are experienced until total silence where the participant must rely entirely on lip reading and body language. After the exercise the participant is given a sheet showing finger spelling and are taught the proper way to approach an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing.
6. Mobility Impairment -Participants are asked to perform a serious of activities requiring dexterity and fine motor skills while hand and fingers movement is restricted. The use of assistance animals to perform certain tasks is also discussed.
7. Bus Ride -Participants using a manual wheelchair take ride on a bus. Includes using a MP3 with a recording simulating mental illness. Participants learn the difficulties of navigating a wheelchair through a busy metropolitan intersection to a nearby bus stop, boarding and disembarking a full size city bus loaded with passengers.
Upon return the participant must board a full sized bus with one knee immobilized.
8. Snacks/Drinks -Participants experience reliance on a distracted individual to receive food snacks and water.
9. Obstacle Course -Participants must navigate an outdoor obstacle course using 2 distinctly different electric wheelchairs.
10. Person First -Participants learn how to correctly communicate about or with a person with a disability placing the emphasis on the person rather then the disability.11. Evaluation -Participants share, in a circle, their experiences of the day. Relating surprises, frustrations and realizations may come to questions that can be answered in this group setting. Participants are also asked to complete an evaluation form where they may make private comments and or suggestions for improvement.