The first two weeks of October are Disability History and Awareness Weeks! Section 1003.4205, Florida Statutes, entitled Disability History and Awareness Instruction, was signed into law in 2008. It designates the first two weeks of October as Disability History and Awareness Weeks and promotes knowledge, understanding, and awareness of individuals with disabilities, disability history, and the disability rights movement.
Below is an adapted version of Disability Etiquette 101 from the University of Texas at Arlington Advisor Handbook http://www.uta.edu/uac/uac/advisor-handbook/
Speak about a person with a disability by first referring to the person and then to
the disability. Refer to “people who are blind” rather than to “blind people.”
When talking with a person with a disability, speak directly to that person rather
than to a companion or sign language interpreter who may be present.
When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake
hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually
shake hands. Shaking hands with the left hand is an acceptable greeting.
When meeting a person with a visual impairment, always identify yourself and
others who may be with you. When conversing in a group, remember to identify
the person to whom you are speaking.
If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for
Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names
only when extending that same familiarity to all others present. Never patronize
people who use wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.
Leaning or hanging on a person’s wheelchair is similar to leaning or hanging on
a person and is generally considered annoying. The chair is part of the personal
body space of the person who uses it.
Listen attentively when you’re talking with a person who has difficulty speaking.
Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for
that person. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, a nod,
or a shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty
doing so. Instead, repeat what you have understood and allow the person to
respond. The response will clue you in and guide your understanding.
When speaking with a person in a wheelchair or a person who uses crutches,
place yourself at eye level in front of the person to facilitate the conversation.
To get the attention of a person who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, tap the person on
the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly.
Not all people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can “read lips.” For those who do
“read lips,” be sensitive to their needs by placing yourself facing the light source
and keeping hands, cigarettes, and food away from your mouth when speaking.
Relax. It’s okay if you happen to use accepted, common expressions, such as
“See you later” or “Did you hear about this,” that seem to relate to the person’s
Sensitivity to blindness and visual impairments
The following points of etiquette are helpful to keep in mind when interacting with a
person who is blind or visually impaired.
Introduce yourself to people who are blind or visually impaired using your name
and/or position, especially if you are wearing a name badge containing this
Speak directly to people who are blind or visually impaired, not through a
companion, guide, or other individual.
Speak to people who are blind or visually impaired using a natural conversational
tone and speed.
Address people who are totally blind or severely visually impaired by name when
possible. This is especially important in crowded areas.
Immediately greet people who are blind or visually impaired when they enter a
room or a service area. This allows you to let them know you are present and
ready to assist. It also eliminates uncomfortable silences.
Indicate the end of a conversation with a person who is totally blind or severely
visually impaired to avoid the embarrassment of having them continue speaking
when no one is actually there.
Feel free to use words that refer to vision during the course of conversations with
people who are blind or visually impaired. Vision-oriented words, such as
look see, and watching TV are a part of everyday verbal communication. The words
blind and visually impaired are also acceptable in conversation.
Be precise and thorough when you describe individuals, places, or things to
people who are totally blind. Don’t leave things out or change a description
because you think it is unimportant or unpleasant. It is also important to refer
to specific people or items by name or title instead of general terms like you, or
they, or this.
Feel free to use visually descriptive language. Making reference to colors,
patterns, designs, and shapes is perfectly acceptable.
Offer to guide people who are blind or visually impaired by asking if they would
like assistance. Offer them your arm. It is not always necessary to provide guided
assistance; in some instances it can be disorienting and disruptive. Respect the
desires of the person you are with.
Guide people who request assistance by allowing them to take your arm just
above the elbow when your arm is bent. Walk ahead of the person you are
guiding. Never grab a person who is blind or visually impaired by the arm and
push him/her forward.
Guide dogs are working mobility tools. Do not pet them, feed them, or distract
them while they are working.
Do not leave a person who is blind or visually impaired standing in “free space”
when you serve as a guide. Always be sure that the person you guide has a
firm grasp on your arm, or is leaning against a chair or a wall if you have to be
Be calm and clear about what to do if you see a person who is blind or visually
impaired about to encounter a dangerous situation. For example, if a person who
is blind is about to bump into a stand in a hotel lobby, calmly and firmly call out,
“Wait there for a moment; there is a pole in front of you.”
Interacting with people who have speech disabilities
There are a variety of disabilities, such as stroke, cerebral palsy, and deafness, that
may involve speech impairments. People with speech disabilities communicate in many
People who have speech disabilities may use a variety of ways to communicate.
The individual may choose to use American Sign Language, write, speak, use a
communication device, or use a combination of methods. Find out the person’s
preferred method and use it.
Be appropriate when speaking with a person with a speech disability. Never
assume that the person has a cognitive disability just because he or she has
Move away from a noisy source and try to find a quiet environment for
communicating with the person.
If the person with a speech disability has a companion or attendant, talk directly
to the person. Do not ask the companion about the person.
Listen attentively when you are talking with a person who has difficulty speaking.
Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for
the person. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, a nod,
or shake of the head.
If you do not understand what the person has said, do not pretend that you did.
Ask the person to repeat it. Smiling and nodding when you have no idea what
the person said is embarrassing to both parties. Instead, repeat what you have
understood and allow the person to respond.
When you have difficulty conversing on the telephone with the person, suggest
the use of a speech-to-speech relay service so that a trained professional can
help you communicate with the person. Either you or the person can initiate the
call free of charge via the relay service.
If the person uses a communication device, make sure it is within his or her
reach. If there are instructions visible for communicating with the person, take a
moment to read them.
Do not make assumptions about what a person can or cannot do based on his
disability. All people with disabilities are different and have a wide variety of skills
NORTHPORT IS SO PLEASED TO PRESENT OUR 2017 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR!
It is with great pleasure and admiration that Northport K-8 School present to Rev. Dr. Rad Orlandi our highest achievement award as Northport Senior Volunteer of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year. Dr. Orlandi has demonstrated a true commitment to Northport with his organizational ability, his communication skills and his real care and concern for the children who attend the Title I school.
At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, Dr. Orlandi approached the school media specialist with a plan. Since the school and the church were where Rad serves as an assistant pastor, First United Methodist church of Port Saint Lucie was so close and the church and school were neighbors, why not work together and collaborate to bring volunteers and reading initiatives to Northport? Rad’s main goal when collaborating with the school was to bring people with the time and the drive to help children in need together with the school administration, teachers and students to place a volunteer from the church into each K-2 Northport classroom.
The plan worked and the initiative started with a flourish. At this time, there are at least fifteen adult and student volunteers from First United Methodist Church of Port Saint Lucie who volunteer their time regularly to help teachers with read alouds, small group instruction, tutoring and mentoring. These services are vital to the functioning of the school. Northport has worked without pause to bring our Title I school from a C grade to a B grade. We believe that community dedication to teaching and learning has played a huge role in helping us move forward as a school and help our students progress.
Rad also spearheaded the Northport Summer Reading initiative last school year. The church worked as a group to collect 1,005 new or gently used books to kick-start the Northport summer reading program. Volunteers from the church delivered the books to the school. The books were set up like a store in the media center and students in grades VPK through fifth grade, including all exceptional education students, were able to “shop” for at least three books each. Students were instructed to keep their stack of books in a special place to remind them to read each day over the summer. It was a wonderful program. This school year, First United Methodist Church (FUMC) reached out to First Baptist Church of Port Saint Lucie to deepen the summer reading program by collecting enough books for the entire school, including all middle grades students.
Rad and the people of FUMC also collected ninety backpacks for needy students for the 2017-2018 school year. The backpacks were loaded with much needed school supplies — enough supplies for the entire year. When Rad and the volunteers from FUMC of Port Saint Lucie visit Northport, the students are excited to see them. The children know that the church volunteers love and care about them and that extra learning for the students and the support for the teacher are vital.
Rad has volunteered at Northport for two years and has employed a weekly average, including all program initiatives, of approximately five hours per week. Rad and his wife, Pat, volunteer in Michelle Kemp’s third grade class weekly, but his reach into the school has been all encompassing. The church initiatives touch all aspects of the school and extend into all classrooms.
Rad’s goal for this year is to increase volunteersism and to help bring in more churches to support student learning and teacher and family needs. The collaboration is a win for the school and a win for the church. Everyone involved just loves helping out the children and families in their own community.
A huge thank you to Reverend Dr. Rad Orlandi and to all the members of the First United Methodist Church of Port Saint Lucie for adding the children of Northport to the top of their community outreach program
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.
The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
Today, 55 million people or 17% of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.
Share in this special annual tribute by learning and celebrating the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.
The Indian River Lagoon Science Festival returns for the fourth annual event. Each year since 2014, the Indian River Lagoon Science Festival has given Festival-goers the opportunity to explore the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through hands-on, minds-on activities. The Festival will return to the Treasure Coast on Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 10:00am to 3:00pm. This FREE family-friendly community celebration will take place at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Fort Pierce.
The Indian River Lagoon Science Festival aims to show not only the importance of science, but also how fun and exciting it can be. Dozens of exhibitors from throughout the state of Florida will have learning activities and demonstrations exploring different areas of science, including agriculture, chemistry, engineering, computer science, ecology, marine science and more!
Participants will have the opportunity to:
Explore the solar system with National Geographic
Identify marine plants and animals in a portable touch tank with FAU Harbor Branch
Race cockroaches with the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory
Construct coral colonies with the Smithsonian Marine Station
Experience St. Lucie’s Procession of the Species, a musical and colorful public expression of art and celebration of nature
View exciting stage shows including the explosive chemistry of Miracle of Science and Treasure Coast Wildlife Center’s live animal show
In addition to the stage shows and exhibits, local area food trucks will be in attendance and there will be free admission at the St. Lucie County Aquarium. Free parking will be available in the Downtown Fort Pierce Parking Garage with free trolley transport to the Festival site.
There are also ten STEM-focused satellite events taking place across Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin Counties in the two weeks leading up to Festival day. The satellite events begin on September 27 and go through October
A free festival making science on the Treasure Coast FUN for EVERYONE!
Indian River Lagoon Science Festival 701 Seaway Drive
Fort Pierce FL 34949 IRLsciencefest@si.edu
@IRLsciencefest (Facebook, Twitter)
For more information on these events, visit the IRL Science Festival website at www.irlsciencefest.org/satellite.
The IRL Science Festival has been made possible through funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Smithsonian Marine Station, Friends of the Smithsonian Marine Station, FAU Harbor Branch, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation’s Specialty License Plate Program, the Florida Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, Waste Pro, Sunrise Ford, St. Lucie County, the City of Fort Pierce, and the generous support of WGYL 93.7, WJKD 99.7, WPHR 94.7, WOSN 97.1, and WTTB 1490.