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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Equal Fun for Everyone – Awareness leads to acceptance


Scout was having a bad day. Her father helped her gain perspective.

Children experience the interactive and hands-on learning through WDSRA’s Disability Awareness Program. The goal of the program is increase awareness and sensitivity toward those who have special needs.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” So advised Atticus Finch, the hero of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Atticus is great at seeing things from others’ perspectives. Scout is just learning. I think at times, we are all like Scout – still learning.

At Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA), we help the community to expand their awareness of the challenges faced by those with special needs by offering our Disability Awareness Program. Through this program, members of the community can learn what it is like to live with a physical or intellectual disability through a hands-on and interactive learning experience. Participants wear goggles that simulate the experience of being visually impaired; they shoot basketballs from a wheelchair; they try out sign language and Braille; and they learn how to assist those with disabilities and much more.

These programs are offered to community groups such as scouts, schools, churches, businesses, or service clubs. The sensitivity that arises from the experience allows for a more seamless interaction between those among us who have special needs and those who do not. Awareness leads to acceptance.

Back to our story…

By the end of the novel, Scout has gained understanding. And when spotting her reclusive neighbor behind the door, rather than responding in fear, she simply smiles and says, “Hey, Boo.”

For more information about WDSRA or to schedule a Disability Awareness Program for your group, contact Dori Napolitano, WDSRA Day Programs Manager, at (630) 681-0962 ext. 569 or visit www.wdsra.com.

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Terri Gregory
Terri Gregoryhttp://www.wdsra.com
Terri Gregory is Community Relations Supervisor for Western DuPage Special Recreation Association. WDSRA offers recreational opportunities for adults and children with special needs through programs and inclusion services. WDSRA is a cooperative extension of nine park districts. Almost 30 percent of WDSRA’s participants are from Naperville. Contact her at WDSRA via (630) 681-0962 or terrig@wdsra.com.

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