Penn State DuBois Raises Disability Awareness
To kick off Disability Awareness Month in October, campus-wide events at Penn State DuBois this week have raised awareness of disabilities, and what can be done to make sure people of every ability level are understood and treated fairly.
Ben Fey, an organizational trainer with Goodwill Industries of North Central PA, gave a presentation in Hiller Auditorium on October 10. Fey talked about proper etiquette concerning mental disabilities such as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Autism. Fey said every person should be viewed as an individual and not simply identified by a label assigned to them because of a condition they may have. He said this philosophy should be practiced by everyone, including mental health professionals who treat and interact with people who face these challenges. Fortunately, Fey explained, progressive attitudes about mental health are taking a firm hold today, more than ever.
"It's been a hard fight to get these issues recognized, because it's not a celebrity cause like other illnesses," he said. "But, we've come a long way."
The Disability Awareness Fair took place on October 11. Area organizations and agencies were on hand to discuss services they provide to people with disabilities. Assistive technology, such as wheelchairs, crutches, and more were available for students to try out. Other simulations were also held, which gave students a first-hand experience at what people with some disabilities deal with on a daily basis. In one exercise, students prepared an ice cream sundae with several topping while blindfolded, to simulate what the task would be like for someone who is blind.
"It is important to raise disability awareness so that individuals with disabilities may be granted the understanding, human rights, justice, and fair treatment that they deserve and do not always receive today," said Diana Kreydt, Penn State DuBois disability services coordinator. "It is important for society to focus upon the abilities of those who have been diagnosed with a disability, rather than focusing on fears and negativity. We have come a long way toward improving our treatment and understanding of people with disabilities, but we still have a long way to go."