Rockwood Families Gather Tips at (Dis)Abilities Resources Fair
PHOTO GALLERY: First-ever (Dis)Abilities Resources Fair was helpful to many Rockwood School District families. Read about Disability Etiquette 101.
United Nation's International Day of Persons with Disabilities was just observed Dec. 3, however Rockwood School District was ahead of that curve by hosting a first-ever (Dis)Abilities Resources Fair this fall at the Annex building in Eureka. Attendees came from across the district to connect with resources for various types of needs and interests.
Ever think about how many famous and historic individuals there have been who also had disabilities? A tribute to those people was accentuated at Rockwood's Disabilities Fair. The list includes: Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Magic Johnson, Helen Keller, George Washington, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Sir Isaac Newton, Emily Dickinson, Henry Ford, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Stephen Hawking, Christopher Reeve and even Albert Einstein.
Local nonprofits and other service-oriented organizations that participated in the district's Disabilities Fair were:
- Brain Injury Association of Missouri
- St. Louis ARC
- Hospital School Program
- Special Olympics
- Austism Speaks
- Special School District
- Family and Community Resource Center
- Section 504
- Rockwood Early Childhood
- Down's Syndrome Association
- St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association
Disabilities are a natural part of life. A handout at the fair outlined what was entitiled "Disability Etiquette 101," which was adapted from the University of Texas at Arlington Adviser Handbook.
- Speak about a person with a disability by first referring to the person and then to the disability. Refer to "people who are blind" rather than to "blind people."
- When talking with a person with a disability, speak directly to that person, rather than to a companion or sign language interpreter who may be present.
- When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb usually can shake hands.
- When meeting a person with a visual impairment, always identify yourself and others who may be with you. When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking.
- If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen or ask for instructions.
- Never patronize people who use wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.
- Leaning or hanging on a person's wheelchair is similar to leaning or hanging on a person, and is generally considered annoying. The chair is part of the personal body space of the person using it.
- People who have speech disabilities may use a variety of ways to communicate. The individual may choose to use American Sign Language, write, speak, use a communications device, or use a combination of methods. Find out the person's preferred method and use it.
- Do not make assumptions about what a person can or cannot do based on his or her disability. All people with disabilities are different, and have a wide variety of skills and personalities.