Accepting and Celebrating Differences Day Wood Oaks Junior High School - November 15, 2018

Wood Oaks seventh graders went through a series of simulations designed to show them what others with disabilities struggle with each and every day. The simulations highlighted challenges faced by those whose native language is not English, those with ADHD, Autism, and with those who have problems with Visual Motor/Visual Perception, and Reading Comprehension and Decoding. "Accepting and Celebrating Differences Day" also included an assembly with motivational speaker Lloyd Bachrach, who was born with a congenital bone deficiency which left his legs unusually small.

These photos are part of the simulation regarding visual motor/visual perception. Students tried to draw designs and trace mirror images, using their non-dominant hands. They also tried to interpret optical illusions.
Ms. Janiga discussed the difficulty of comprehension for non-English speakers. She spoke to the students in Polish and later asked them questions. Mrs. Oh also participated in the English Language Learner exercise by speaking in Korean.
The first two photos show students in the ADHD simulation. They were asked to solve a word and a math puzzle using large pencils and listening to a recording with lots of distracting sounds and words. (And Mr. Niemiec did his best to add his own distractions.) The next four photos show students in the Reading Comprehension and Decoding simulation, where students try and make sense of what looks like random letters. The first line of the page above actually reads: "Bob and Linda wanted to go the beach."
Students also discussed Autism.
Finally, Lloyd Bacharach shared his motivational story with the seventh-graders. Because his legs were small, Mr. Bachrach learned to build up his upper body strength. He competed in sports through school and became a champion gymnast. He was also a member of the U.S. Paralympic team.

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