Kent State celebrates disability awareness month

Teahl Rice

Kent’s Student Accessibility Services will host events and activities through the month of October in honor of Disability Awareness Month.

Shannon Cowling, chair of Kent State’s disability Awareness Committee, said she finds the month to be about recognizing all disabilities, not just visible or physical disabilities.   

“I think in the world that we live in today, we might not be able to see a disability,” Cowling said. “So the chances are likely that you’re going to intercept with someone and might not know it. So any piece of information that you can learn and that can help you interact and have a little broader view and not necessarily a judgmental view will enhance peoples lives.”

Kent State’s Student Accessibility Services offers a wide range of free activities to participate in during the month of October. According to SAS’s website, the d in “disAbility” is lower case to emphasize people’s ability rather than disability.

The dAM committee has planned events across campus throughout the month. They will kick off the month by chalking the campus sidewalks Wednesday at 1 p.m. at DeWeese Health Center. A mass group will be walking in the homecoming parade and Cowling said everyone is encouraged to join.

A guest speaker is set to come and talk about being the first person to have a regular role on a primetime series, Hollywood, discrimination, abuse and triumph. Silver Linings Playbook will also play in the Kiva along with dogs on campus.

Taylor Helbig, a junior physical education major, said she believes it’s important for students to have an understanding of what disability really means.

“Everyone should be aware of people who are different so you’re not biased of one person and you’re more understanding of others,” Helbig said.

In 1945, Congress enacted a law proclaiming the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week”. Later in 1962, “physically” was removed to recognize employment needs and contributions of those with disabilities.

Congress then expanded the two-week celebration to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The Office of Disability Employment Policy was developed in 2001 and has since undertaken responsibility. 

The dAM committee encourages everyone to come and celebrate Disability Awareness Month. Those in need of accommodations can email Cowling at [email protected] or call 330-672-3611.   

Contact Teahl Rice at [email protected].