Northport K-8 School has been providing instruction and a variety of opportunities to expand student knowledge, understanding and awareness of individuals with disabilities, disability history and the disability rights movement recently. Disability and History Awareness Instruction was signed into law in 2008 and Northport K-8 School gladly acknowledges the designation of the first two weeks in October as an opportunity to celebrate Inclusion and Awareness.

One in every five Americans is a person with a disability. A great example of the instruction occurring at Northport K-8 School showcasing Disability Awareness has been in the classroom of Dr. Laura Woodworth. Dr. Woodworth teaches science on the Northstar team. Recently, students experienced what it like to live as a disabled person. Students wore special glasses coated with Vaseline to mimic glaucoma and macular degeneration. They read aloud to a lab partner with the glasses to understand the difficulty of vision impairment. Students also wore large gloves to push buttons, try to write and use their hands to mimic arthritis and neuropathy. Students then wore special headphones to understand hearing loss. All took speech discrimination tests and then reflected on their disabilities, discussing with a learning partner how it felt to have a disability. Following the exercises, students wrote reflection essays on what it was like to have a disability and brainstormed about how the non-disabled could assist the disabled person better. Students cited information gleaned from the Disability Etiquette 101 handout that was derived from the list of resources offered by the Saint Lucie County Student Services Program.

Students all across the campus are reading books from a targeted list sourced from the media center and discussing how a person may be born with a disability, may acquire a disability through an accident or illness, or may acquire a disability as a part of growing older.

Pictured are students from Dr. Laura Woodworth’s class engaging in awareness activities.