CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - As part of the Chappaqua school district’s involvement in National Inclusive School Week, Roaring Brook Elementary School third-graders received a hands-on lesson on Tuesday about the difficulties of living and learning with a disability.
During the session, students were presented with an array of challenges, testing how they would perform with hearing, seeing, sensory or physical disabilities. Disabilities that some of their fellow classmates deal with on a daily basis.
“It’s just a really nice, inclusive environment that is living here at this school,” said Joanna Segal, co-chair of the Roaring Brook PTA. “Differences are not pointed out and ridiculed and mocked. It’s only beneficial to the whole community if we can all work together to make it as nice as possible.”
To make the students understand how everybody learns differently, they were all shown the same picture and asked the respond with what they saw. Some were able to see a duck, others saw a rabbit, and a few saw both.
When attempting to speak while using tongue depressors, saying words such as “lemon” suddenly became a challenge for the third-graders. Other physical challenges included opening containers and writing their names while wearing mittens, listening to recordings and trying to decipher what was being said, and attempting to navigate around cones in a wheelchair while holding books.
“Every kid wants to be in the wheelchair because they think it’s so fun and cool,” said Segal. “Then they realize how difficult it actually is.”
The school will be holding the challenges until Thursday with different third-grade classes. Westorchard Elementary School is also repeating the challenges with its students.