Students at James Hill Elementary experienced firsthand what it’s like to be blind, to be an amputee and to be paralyzed, at an interactive event on Friday.
The Langley Pos-Abilities Society brought their Try On A Disability (TOAD) program to the school to teach kids about some of the challenges people with disabilities face.
Students had to spread jam on a cracker with just one hand, pour a glass of water while blindfolded, and make their way through an obstacle course in a wheelchair.
“In Langley schools this week it’s respect and diversity week, so part of that diversity is understanding that there are people with a variety of different abilities,” said James Hill principal Chris Wejr.
“We want them to have more of an understanding of what it’s like to have different abilities, and that we all have differences.”
This is the first time the society has brought TOAD to a school, and they are hopeful the program can be expanded to all students in Langley, said Zosia Ettenberg, found of Langley Pos-Abilities Society.
“What we’re trying to do as our mission is to get people to integrate those with disabilities into their lives as friends, because we all have the same desires and wants. And quite often, because of the barriers we have in the community, it leaves us out of the loop,” Ettenberg said.
“If the kids are sensitized at an early age, then it will carry on through their lives, and people will be integrated. As I said to them in the beginning, what they’re to learn today is ‘person first, disability last’ and to not define someone by their disability.”
The Langley Pos-Abilities Society is also hosting a ‘name that toad’ contest to come up with a name for their new TOAD mascot. Those who’d like to participate can email Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be announced in April, and will be honoured at their upcoming annual general meeting with a certificate and small gift.