Students learn hands on during different abilities week

AT hosted its annual Different Abilities Week for the week of March 21 to March 25 as a way to honor and bring awareness to those who have different abilities.
AT has been having Different Abilities Week for the past 13 years which AT has put on with the help of Best Buddies and Special Olympics Illinois
Throughout the week AT has put on different activities during lunch and had spirit days related to different disabilities.
DIfferent Abilities Week has alway taken place in March due to it being national cerebral palsy day on March 25 and national down syndrome day on March 21, along with it being Best Buddies annual spread the word to end the word month.
Different Abilities Week started as something to go along with the spread the word to end the word campaign put on by Best Buddies and a way to bring awareness to the harmful words used against those with disabilities. It is also put on as a way to educate people about the many different abilities that there are.
To further acknowledge different abilities this year the school partnered with NEDRA, an organization that focuses on running programs for those who have disabilities, and in collaboration they put on an array of activities during P.E. classes. This was done to help stimulate the different experiences of those who have different abilities. The activities included games wheelchair basketball, go ball, an obstacle course, and many more activities.
“Everybody has a different ability and a different skill set, so I think it’s important that we accommodate to everyone’s needs and learn to understand what it’s like to be in somebody else’s shoes in case we are ever in that position,” said Senior Yana Patel
The goal of this week is to spread awareness to the different abilities there are and educate those who may not be familiar with those different abilities.
“I have a brother who is deaf so I grew up learning sign language and having a brother with a different ability and because I think that it’s important to understand people that are different than ourselves but also we’re really all just the same we just learn a little bit different,” said Jennifer Dowling.
“Lots of people maybe aren’t aware of the different abilities that there are and they might be scared,” said special ed teacher Jessica Sokolowski. “Like maybe the vision students walking in the hallway they might not know that they can say hi and should say hi just like everyone else because it looks like they are navigating or concentrating but they are just like everyone else and for people to not be afraid to approach them because they many not act like you or talk like you.”
Different Abilities Week is a way to celebrate and show the abilities of those with different abilities.
“It [different abilities week] celebrates everyone and shows that anyone can succeed when they are given a chance and when they’re given a voice,” said Sokolowski.
The week is used to educate people about not being afraid of those who may look different from them and have different abilities from them and spread awareness for the hardships of those with different abilities.

Headed by senior Sebastian Sawina, several boys race across the gym in wheelchairs during PE class. The activity was designed to showcase what it is like to have to move with impaired legs.

Seniors Domenico Cuicinella and Michael Retondo reach for the ball during a game of Goalball. Goalball challenged students to rely on sound rather than sight.

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