September 05, 2006

Disability 'Awareness Days'

A look at some of the topics in Ragged Edge Online's libraries and archives.

It's fall, it's back-to-school time, and that means it's also time for groups to start planning "disability awareness days."

"Schools, government agencies, and sometimes, deplorably, gimp groups, are still offering the public 'try on a disability' programs -- exercises in which nondisabled people are blindfolded, put into wheelchairs or given earplugs to 'simulate' having a disability," wrote Illinois disability activist Valerie Brew-Parrish on the Ragged Edge website. Brew-Parrish, like many activists, considers disability simulations an atrocity.

In The Advocado Press's new book, Disability Awareness -- Do It Right!, Brew-Parrish and other disability scholars and activists explain the problems with simulations and, more important, how to stage a good Disablity Awareness Day -- one that avoids the problems of disability simulations. Short background articles and planning lists help organizers carry out fun and effective Awareness Day activities, and an appendix includes articles to use with Awareness Day participants.
More about the book.

Brew-Parrish's 1997 Ragged Edge article, The Wrong Message, made people think about the harm simulations can do. Read article.

Read Brew-Parrrish 2004 followup: The Wrong Message - Still.

In 2003, Chapman University professor Art Blaser offered Ragged Edge readers some alternatives to simulation exercises, and Fresno, CA activist Ed Eames showed Ragged Edge readers how his local disability group used the day-in-a-wheelchair tactic to wake up public officials.

Read Some Alternatives to Simulation Exercises.

Read Fresno Official Awareness: When simulations work.

And be sure to check out our earlier news archives on this or related topics -- or use our search feature to find more articles.

Posted on September 05, 2006