[Day 1] Celebrate Diverse Learner 2018: Social Awareness Towards Differently Abled People

Okay, as you may already know (or not yet), I am a Special Education Teacher. I have handled special needs children since 2011. I used to handle primary level, with high support, but now I'm working with bigger kids in middle and high school level, a high functioning one, for the past 3 years. Is that enough for an opening? Okay, I think that's enough. Now, let's move on.

Our Special Education Department has an annual awesome event called Celebrate Diverse Learner. It is used to be called Autism Awareness in conjunction with World Autism Day every April 2nd. But then when we re-think about it, we don't only have Autism students here in our school. Our students are more varied and diversed. Long discussion short, we decided to change the title with some words that will embrace the diversity among us. So, there we are coming up with Celebrate Diverse Learner. Cool, isn't it? :)

This year Celebrate Diverse Learner (I'm going to call it CDL to make it easier, yes?) theme is Social Awareness Towards Differently Abled People. Why social awareness? Why differently abled people? You may have these kind of questions in your mind. Well, because we think it would be a good exposure for our students in order to develop their awareness towards differently abled people.

The event was held in 3 days, from 18-19 April 2018. The first day was designed for Primary students. It had two separate sessions. The first session was a story telling for year 1-3. Ibu Fika was the story teller. She expressively told about an animal that is different. It was not fit to the society but stayed true to itself and got recognition from the surroundings. The students looked excited and showed enthusiasms. They listened wholeheartedly and initiatively asked related questions or shared their related personal experiences.

The second session was intended for bigger kids; year 4-5. So, we invited inspiring differently abled people from another school, Raffi and Fatimah. They are hearing impaired students who have great achivements in both academic and non-academic. They do not get caught in their disability, yet they shine upon it. They shared their experiences of their achievements and inspired our students to work hard despite having weaknesses. After a little sharing sessions, we brought PUSBISINDO (Pusat Bahasa Isyarat Indonesia) to let our students learn about sign language. The kids were divided into 4 big groups in which they would learn how to sing requested songs with sign language. Surprisingly, each group demonstrated willpower and persistence to learn it well. In the end, they performed the song using sign language on stage. It was such a fun and insightful experiences for them.

In between sessions, we gave the kids a concrete experience of being differently able people by playing a puzzle with different treatments. So, kids were divided into 2 groups. A group with no treatments, and another group with treatments. Kids in treatments group wore earplug, were hand-tied, and blinfolded, in order to know how did it feel to be a differently abled person. The aim was to develop empathy and awareness on how to treat them well. It was quite a chaos during the session as the kids without treatment seemed to think that they would win. However, the kids with treatment showed better teamwork and gave better result.

I must say it was one of a good day for me.. and the kids as we learned something new as a human being. We learned to show empathy, to be more aware, to work hard, and to keep moving forward despite having weaknesses. Because no body is perfect.

P.S: We were very thankful for the MC of the day, Ibu Tisa as she was very competent to manage the kids in both sessions. The event ended on time. Woohoo!

Day 1 - Summary


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