Dawson sets up a physical disability information desk to help eliminate stigma
by Bryan LeBlanc
CRLT students set up a disability simulation station in the atrium last Wednesday to raise awareness about physical disabilities since ignorance is the root of stigma and misconceptions that surround physical disabilities.
“Just because we can’t do some things, does not mean we can’t do anything for ourselves,” said Jessica Koultz, a student with a physical disability. “People judge too quickly.”
The station featured an insight into the lives of those with disabilities. There was a movie entitled Can you tell what the women is saying?, where a woman would say a sentence and the viewers have to guess what she said. It was designed to show how the hearing impaired read lips.
“People tend to stereotype the physically disabled because they are afraid of them, or are ignorant themselves,” fourth semester CRLT student and organizer of the campaign Omega.J. said.
There were also several pairs of goggles, each representing different forms of visual impairment, like tunnel vision, for participants to wear while trying to read a Snellen Eye Chart, similar to the one in a doctor’s office.
“Unless people are personally affected by it, I don’t think they care or know anything about it,” said Joanna R., a second semester Liberal Arts student. “I don’t know much about physical disabilities myself.”
To help simulate blindness, a blindfold and a long cane were provided to demonstrate mobility for the visually impaired. For the inexperienced, walking around the atrium way was not an easy task, and many had to remove the blindfold out of fear.
“What bothers me the most is that places aren’t more accessible for disabled people,” Koultz said.
Dawson and its students are trying to do their part in educating the population, which is the first step in eliminating negative stereotypes.