Our Year 4 students had the opportunity participate in Novita’s Wheelienet Disability Awareness Program.
As our Year 4 students delve into their unit of inquiry topic – Who We Are, they have been exploring groups of people who might feel as though they don’t belong or are not included due to a disability. They then had the opportunity to have a go at simulating these disabilities through the Wheelienet Disability Awareness Program.
Wheelienet is an interactive program for South Australian schools that help students gain a greater awareness of the issues and challenges facing people living with a disability. The program has a range of objectives including raising awareness of wheelchair sports in South Australia, encouraging safe driving, highlighting the dangers of drinking, drug-taking and poor decision-making in everyday life, improving the understanding of people living with spinal cord injury, and encouraging participation.
Michael from Novita was born with a disability and as a result spends majority of his time in a wheelchair. This has been the case for Michael since he was in Primary School. He is very open and honest about his experiences, how others treat him, times he felt he didn’t belong or fit in and will answer any questions the students have. The students all respond beautifully and respectfully and ask fabulous questions.
Students are then given the opportunity to experience a small aspect of life in a wheelchair and while they are all initially excited, the novelty of the chair soon wears off. They tire very quickly and realise it is HARD WORK and sadly life and the environment we live in is not always suited to a wheelchair (limited access to ramps etc.). Following reflection the students soon realise and are able to put into perspective the challenges they might face on a daily basis and it was an eye opener into not judging people by what they look like and how they best include other people.