However, the physical education teacher at Dorsett Shoals Elementary School in Douglasville is taking the extra step to guide students without disabilities toward a better understanding and appreciation of disabled classmates or friends and what special education students go through on a daily basis.
The Disability Awareness and Family Fitness Night for the school is scheduled for May 15 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Backed by 36 business and organization sponsors, including Blaze Sports, Nu Motion and Douglas County Special Olympics, the event will feature experimental stations placed throughout the school’s gymnasium designed to simulate the effects of a particular disability.
“For instance, at one station, we will blindfold students and have them make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without being able to actually see what they are doing, to simulate blindness,” Epstein said,
At another station, he said, students will sit in specially designed wheelchairs to play sports like kickball to simulate how students unable to walk must play the game.
At another station, students will don specially-designed gloves to simulate disabilities that restrict the use of the hands or arms.
In addition, Epstein said, there will be stations where general education students can test their own levels of physical fitness.
“We will also have free giveaways and prizes,” he said.
Epstein said the goal of the event is to raise awareness of disabilities, “and let these general education students, at least for a few moments, walk in the shoes of those with special needs.”
At the inaugural event last year, more than 250 attended, including residents both from within and outside the Dorsett Shoals zone, he said.
Although the peanut butter and jelly station was one of the most popular activities last year, another activity to illustrate the same visual disability, called “beepball,” is expected to be a big draw, Epstein said.
Although the game is similar to kickball, the ball is equipped to make a “beep” sound when rolled and bases make a similar sound after the ball is kicked to help visually impaired students play the game.