Indiana Daily Student

MCCSC to promote disability awareness

The Monroe County Community School Corporation will celebrate Disability Awareness Month with events planned throughout March.

First organized by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities in 1989, there is a different theme each year.

This March’s theme, “Dream to Dare,” aims to challenge people to consider and support disability awareness in their communities, according to the Awareness website.

There are currently six Bloomington events registered on the Awareness website, including a film festival at the IU Cinema.

Janise McCollough, assistant director of special education, said each school in MCCSC organizes its own events to recognize the month.

The Bloomington Council for Community Accessibility, a volunteer group that advocates for people with disabilities, will visit some schools.

Clear Creek Elementary School is organizing a book share. The students will read books about Americans with disabilities, as well as study technology such as bionic arms and how it can help people with disabilities.

LIFEDesigns, Inc., an Indiana group that provides people with disabilities and their families with resources, is organizing an essay contest for older students and a coloring contest for younger students in MCCSC.

Director of Special Education Kathleen Hugo said the schools don’t necessarily celebrate the month, but they make the students more aware of disabilities.

Hugo said there are about 11,000 total students in MCCSC, and 1,700 have identified disabilities. She said there are some students who are medically fragile who might not have been in a school building 20 years ago.

Adults and children with disabilities represent more than 19 percent of the Hoosier population, according to the Awareness website.

Hugo said MCCSC has strengthened its programs for students with autism because more students with autism are enrolled in the schools.

“We have pushed the envelope even more,” Hugo said.

Even though March is devoted to disability awareness, McCollough said MCCSC tries to teach its students about disabilities all year.

Hugo said students with disabilities are just a part of MCCSC’s everyday
operations.

It is important for the students to understand disabilities because they may grow up to have children of their own with disabilities, she said.

She said it is important for students to value all students as people with worth and not just as a disability.

“It’s just part of a basic civil right,” Hugo said.

More information about Disability Awareness Month and events happening in Bloomington is available at indianadisabilityawareness.org.

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