Thursday, December 10, 2009

AT Module #5

I found the link to the list of books that feature characters with disabilities to be helpful, although I wish they listed more that focused on books for younger grades, since that is my area. It is important to realize that in addition to providing those with disabilities educational opportunities, those apparently without disabilities need to be educated about their classmates too.

I did not find this online learning program to be as helpful as the previous one. I thought it was too condensed. I got a little confused trying to digest all the information, although the interactivity provided in these modules is very helpful.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

AT Module #4

It is sometimes difficult to know how to commmunicate with people with disabilities without feeling awkward. For a period of time I drove a blind social worker around to her appointments and I learned a lot from that experience. People would sometimes try to address me instead of her, like if we were ordering at a fast food restaurant. She said, "I'm blind, not deaf!" She helped me understand that it was ok if I sometimes did not use the politically correct terminology (like saying "visually impaired" instead of "blind") She was not sensitive because she knew I was being respectful. I think that is the key--just acting natural and treating a disabled person like they were anyone else, and through your interactions you will gradually learn how to communicate better.

I think another key reaction mentioned in the module is to always ask them if they need help instead of assuming it. One of my coworkers with a walking impairment fell one day and another coworker tried to assist him. He protested against any kind of help very vehemently. It is a natural reaction for most of us to want to help, but many disabled people have worked hard to reach their level of independence and don't want to "regress".