Belvidere Students "Try On" Different Disabilities

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BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- Living with a disability can be a challenge and some students in the Belvidere School District found that out first hand today. Kids got to see through the eyes of those with mental and physical restrictions.

Have you ever not had the use of your legs? How about your arms?

About 50 sixth graders at Belvidere South Middle School were faced with those challenges. The Belvidere Park District teamed up with the school to have kids complete what could be considered basic tasks, while being restricted by different types of disabilities. One of the activities simulates blindness, using just your sense of touch to do everyday things like writing.

Students were also faced with cognitive challenges like completing a maze while looking at it through a mirror to represent dyslexia.

Sixth grade student Jacob Scarbrough says the most difficult activity was, "Probably the bar one, like putting it behind your neck trying to touch your toes."

Scarbrough said the activities sent him a clear message.

"They're not different from us. They can do the same things we can do, they just have to do it different."

Some kids with special needs tried on different disabilities with all students stamping a pledge of acceptance.

"Help them understand that just because somebody has a disability doesn't mean that they are any different from anybody else. They can do the same things, they can interact with each other, they can have fun just like you," explained Katie Humphrey, special recreation manager with the Belvidere Park District.

Part of the lesson was to give sixth graders a chance to become student partners. Belvidere south has 40 of them this year. The 7th and 8th grade students work with 30 fellow special-needs students, once a week.

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