Southern Utah University’s Disability Resource Center was eager to educate through their Disability Awareness Week events and presentations. During the week of Nov. 7-11, they held 13 events on SUU’s campus to share information about various disabilities.
The week started with three informational presentations on Monday. In the morning, students of Dr. Kholoud Al-Qubbaj, a professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at SUU, gave presentations about the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A meeting to spread awareness for anxiety and depression and a Q&A panel followed in the afternoon.
Tuesday began with more presentations from Dr. Al-Qubbaj’s students and a meeting about stress management and mental health. During these, an educational “obstacle course” was held in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Rotunda. The course featured ways for students to experience aspects of different disabilities for themselves. There were stations to simulate dyslexia, schizophrenia, visual impairments, and others.
“We want people to be aware that we’re all different and we’re all diverse. We learn differently, and we each have our different struggles that we face everyday,” said Disability Support Specialist Christine Bonnett, who watched over the obstacle course.
The Disability Resource Center put together a workshop for Wednesday evening. It discussed how to overcome burnout and could be joined over Zoom. After the workshop, students could head over to the Student Center Theatre for a viewing party of “The Upside.” The film is based on a true story about a man with quadriplegia, which means he was paralyzed from the neck down. It helped students gain an understanding of what life would be like with a difficult disability.
The obstacle course made a return Thursday morning, but the highlight of the day was Ask. Ponder. Educate. [X]. speaker John Kennedy. Kennedy spoke about neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to adapt to new situations and experiences. There was a neuroplasticity training event later in the afternoon to go along with the speech.
To close out the week, Lucia Maloy, associate general counsel, led a faculty training luncheon. Attending SUU staff learned how to provide accommodations for students who might need them, as well as how to contact the Disability Resource Center if they ever need more information. The final event was a game night held in the Brian Head Room of the Convention Center. Thomas Sorenson, another disability support specialist, set up the event and showed students how to play video games that were based solely on sounds and haptics. These features make the games simpler and more accessible so that more users are able to play.
The Disability Resource Center is located inside the Student Support Center, upstairs in the Sharwan Smith Student Center in Suite 206 F-I. More information can be found here.
Story and Photos by: Anden Garfield