October is Disability Awareness Month and so in response the Tolerance Club has planned a few consciousness-raising events. Last week we showed a video called I Have Tourettes but Tourettes Doesn't Have Me, a compelling portrayal of the lives of kids with this syndrome told in their own words.
This week we organized stations to help students experience what it might be visually impaired. The brailling machine was very popular and so were the goggles that simulate visual impairment, and our school system's mobility specialist was there, too, along with two students whose eyesight is weakened by albinism. Putting on a blindfold and using a white cane to navigate the familiar territory of our school's hallways was far and away the most engaging activity.
Afterwards, the kids talked about the challenges they'd experienced, but it was all brought home by one of their classmate who reminded them that they could always take the blindfolds and goggles off. "Imagine what it's like for us," she said, "because we can't imagine what it's like to be you."