To highlight activities during national Disabilities Awareness Month, a variety of Rockwood School District representatives will host a first-ever Disabilities Resources Fair from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Administrative Annex in Eureka. Handicap accessible parking is available on the north side of the building.
“The Disabilities Fair is focused on the abilities of our students,” said Ginny Bender, director of Special School District. “We want to support the contributions our students make in Rockwood, as well as provide information about resources that may interest our families.”
Bender told Rockwood's Board of Education directors at Thursday's board meeting disabilities are part of the lives of approximately 126,000 students of which she's aware.
October is “Disability History and Awareness Month” and this fair is a way for Rockwood to support families and increase awareness, said Nikki Biechler, Rockwood's Special School District and 504 Coordinator. She said it is important for schools to recognize the contributions made by people with disabilities to society.
“We want to inspire our students and our community by sharing the lives of famous people who have disabilities and have achieved great success,” stated Biechler in a Rockwood announcement.
Last October was the first time district leaders made a concerted effort to acknowledge disabilities month across the board. Related activities, and "disabilities days" were held in individual Rockwood buildings in the past, but this year, district managers decided an event to which different agencies could come would best serve Rockwood community residents.
"The purpose of this month, and our staff day to day really, is to help families and students always look at abilities (as opposed to disabilities). It's also for the education of our educators. This is exciting," said Bender at Thursday's meeting.
This first-time fair will include groups such as:
- Autism Speaks
- TASK (Team Activities for Special Kids)
- Special Olympics
- Equine-Assisted Therapy
- Service Dogs
Information about Proposition S, which is a proposed 19-cent tax levy for Special School District slated for the November ballot, also will be available.
Rockwood Board of Education President Janet Strate shared a story about a recent meeting for which participants were asked to bring socks and toothpaste. "When we got to the meeting, we were asked to put on the socks and try to unscrew the toothpaste cap. It was a wonderful example of what it's like for someone who doesn't have 100 percent fine motor skills to start each morning," she said. "By time students get to school, it's important to consider what have they gone through just to get to school, before we’re about to educate them."