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Kids ADA 2008 Art Contest Winners!
Ciarra Brown, Central City Elementary School (3rd grade)
Kayla Porter, Central City Elementary School (3rd grade)
Tessa Smith, Central City Elementary School (3rd grade)
Every year during October, Mountain State Centers for Independent Living staff and consumers in Huntington and Beckley conduct a Kids ADA (American with Disabilities Act ) education program in local elementary schools in Cabell, Wayne, and Raleigh counties.
The Kids ADA program is offered to students in the third through the eighth grades. It is an educational program designed to promote awareness of people with disabilities. The program provides an opportunity for students to interact with people with disabilities and to learn more about the assistive technologies that people with disabilities use, such as wheelchairs and seeing eye dogs.
MTSTCIL believes that if we promote disability awareness at an early age, we can reduce attitudinal barriers and help children to realize that we are all more alike than different.
We talk to kids about the different disabilities that people have, how to treat people with disabilities (like everyone else!) and provide an opportunity to introduce kids to people with disabilities who talk to them and answer their questions.
Kelly Simpson of MTSTCIL in Huntington tells us that she has been recognized when doing her grocery shopping by the kids she has talked to during Kids ADA. The kids will want to tell her about what they learned about people with disabilities. The kids become more comfortable around people with disabilities and pass along what they have learned to friends, family and other classmates.
This year Teresa Howard, a MTSTCIL consumer (a person with a disability who participates in MTSTCIL programs), was part of the Kids ADA education team. Teresa has had parts in movies, including We Are Marshall, and likes to tell the kids about her experience as an actor and how her persistent personality has gotten her parts in movies.
Teresa talks about how when she was in grade school the other kids often made fun of her because of her disability. She talked to the kids about how MTSTCIL has helped her to overcome and be independent. She lived with her mother until her mother died and today is able to live independently in an apartment of her own.
In the end it is a simple message - people with disabilities want to be treated like everybody else.
Every year there is an art contest, an opportunity for the kids to draw pictures depicting what they learned from the Kids ADA workshop.
This year's winners are: