Friday, February 19, 2010
This article below appeared in the Mansfield News Mirror, a Texas newspaper. Before reading it, consider the definition of 'affliction':
1.a state of pain, distress, or grief; misery
I swear, if my school district ever wants to have an 'affliction' day, my child will not be the one that is afflicted. (Notice the non-blindfolded student laughing at the student pretending to be blind in the picture to the right.)
Students Spend Challenging Day
The students at Mansfield High School have experienced learning on a whole new level. The past few days the students in Robyn Russell's Teen Leadership class have been preparing to have an affliction day. The students were blind, deaf or mute. They had to live one day the way a child or adult with disabilities would in an educational atmosphere.
The students were given tasks they had to complete with a partner who did not have a disability. One of the tasks was for each student to go down the hall and get a drink of water. Many of the blind students had their hands out to feel for walls and depended on their partner for guidance.
"I was very disoriented while walking through the halls," said senior Ryan Collins. "I have been walking these halls the last four years but as soon as the blindfold went on I had no idea where I was in the school."
Another activity was to color a picture of a tiger. First, the teacher asked the students to write their names on the paper. Most of them ended up being sideways or upside down. Next, they were given two markers and told to color a picture.
"I felt lost," said Shayla Blackwell, a sophomore. "I didn't even know what I was coloring let alone what color markers I had in my hands."
The students also had to complete a workout routine. The majority felt dizzy and embarrassed. All the students believed even in the short period of time they were disabled that one of their other senses became stronger.
Affliction day gave students a small insight into the life of a disabled individual. The tasks they completed were simple to those without disabilities, but they could tell that life would be much more difficult with a handicap. The students got to experience a few of the challenges having a disability creates, but there are many more such as discrimination in employment, higher insurance and for teenagers a social status that can be difficult to overcome.
Many of the students said walking in another person's shoes is the best way to experience their life.