Kent State kicks off disAbility Awareness Month

Ashten Haswell

The focus of this year’s disAbility Awareness Month is to let all those with disabilities know they are in good company.

Mollie Miller, adaptive technology coordinator for Student Accessibility Services, said the “A” in disAbility is capitalized to emphasize the abilities in individuals.

Student Accessibility Services is using, “Do you have a disability? Then you’re in good company,” as its slogan for the month of October, which is nationally known as disAbility Awareness Month.

As a way to let people know they’re in good company, members of Student Accessibility Services have created a slideshow of celebrities who have disabilities. The slideshow will be played at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center throughout the month, as the center is working closely with Student Accessibility Services.

Last year, Student Accessibility Services celebrated disAbility Awareness Month for only a week.

Miller said there was had a great turnout at last year’s events, and Student Accessibility Services wants to meet the needs of all students, so it’s expanded it to the entire month of October.

“Our whole goal through disAbility Awareness Month is to increase awareness in the community and to get over the some of the misconceptions that go with disabilities,” said Sue Smith, editorial communication associate of Student Accessibility Services.

Throughout the month, Student Accessibility Services will host several events across campus.

The first event to kick-off the month is the Assistive Technology Fair, “Great Minds Don’t Learn Alike.” It will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. tomorrow in the DeWeese Health Center. The fair will focus on the learning styles and technology methods of all users – not just ones with disabilities. Some of the technologies are study-skill software, voice recognition software, text-to-speech and the new “Smart Pen,” which is a computer in a pen.

This year, Student Accessibility Services has joined with the Department of Recreational Services for the annual Bowman Cup to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the resources they need to compete. Along with the annual 5K race, there will now be a “One Mile Walk & Roll.” The 2008 Bowman Cup has become the “Race for Ability” and will take place Oct. 11.

The Verlezza Dance Ensemble will perform at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Stump Theatre. Verlezza Dance is a company from Shaker Heights that welcomes dancers of all ages and abilities.

The rec center will host a dive-in movie, “Darius Goes West,” Oct. 18. The movie is a documentary about a teenager with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who had to leave his hometown because of his disease. Student Accessibility Services will also have a showing of the movie in November when Darius Weems, the star of the film, comes to Kent State to discuss his journey.

The month’s celebrations will end with an appearance by Josh Blue, a comedian with cerebral palsy, who won Season 4 of “Last Comic Standing.” He’ll perform at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 in the Kent State Ballroom.

E-tickets are required for attendance at the dive-in movie and Josh Blue show. To request an e-ticket, students should send an e-mail to [email protected], providing his or her name, phone number, the name of the event, the number of tickets requested and whether any necessary accommodations will be needed. The limit is four tickets per event, per person.

This year’s disAbility Awareness Month is in remembrance of Willie Boston, former director of affirmative action. Boston helped make the 2007 disAbility Awareness Week a success and was committed to helping students.

All events are free of charge. For more information on these events or disAbility Awareness Month, contact the Student Accessibility Services office at 330-672-3391.

Contact student affairs reporter Ashten Haswell at [email protected].