AN EXERCISE IN EMPATHY : PUPILS TRY OUT CHALLENGES FACING DISABLED.Byline: Alicia Doyle Daily News Staff Writer
The children knew little about J.J. Gatchalian, only that he used a cane to navigate and read with his fingertips "Fingertips" is a 1963 number-one hit single recorded live by "Little" Stevie Wonder for Motown's Tamla label. Wonder's first hit single, "Fingertips" was the first live, non-studio recording to reach number-one on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the United States. .
But they learned more about the 13-year-old who was born blind, and the children discovered J.J. wasn't much different from themselves.
``Being blind doesn't mean that you can't go through life just because you can't see,'' said J.J., who explained to a crowd of curious youngsters that he does his homework, plays outside and gets around school just like his sighted classmates Classmates can refer to either:
J.J.'s visit was one of many highlights Tuesday at Garden Grove Elementary School, where students participated in activities to learn the obstacles of people with special challenges.
The ability awareness fair is an annual event that helps bridge the gaps between the disabled and non-disabled students through understanding, said Rosi Kuehn, coordinator of the event.
``This helps build tolerance and acceptance, and an overall sense of human kindness,'' said Kuehn. ``Non-disabled children learn to understand disabilities, and how the disabled live and overcome everyday challenges.''
Thirteen stations - many that simulated different disabilities - were set up throughout the school, where children walked in the shoes of a disabled person for a short period of time.
Kindergartner kin·der·gart·ner also kin·der·gar·ten·er
1. A child who attends kindergarten.
2. A teacher in a kindergarten. Mario Villalobos learned how a blind person reads by skimming his fingers over a Braille alphabet card, while 6-year-old Matt Acquarelli learned the challenges of a quadriplegic quadriplegic /quad·ri·ple·gic/ (-ple´jik)
1. of, pertaining to, or characterized by quadriplegia.
2. an individual with quadriplegia. when he tried to draw with a pencil wedged between his teeth.
Placed in temporary splints splints
inflammation of the interosseous ligament between the small and large metacarpal bones of horses and an accompanying periostitis and exostosis production on the small metacarpal bone. The metatarsal bones are similarly but less frequently involved. and wheelchairs, some children learned the challenges of limitations during a wheelchair relay race. Others who participated in augmentative aug·men·ta·tive
1. Having the ability or tendency to augment.
2. Grammar Indicating an increase in the size, force, or intensity of the meaning of an adjacent word, as up does in eat up.
n. communication exercises learned how to communicate with disabled children who cannot speak.
Wearing socks over her hands while trying to piece together a puzzle, first-grader Amy Cox learned one of the many challenges faced by a person with cerebral palsy cerebral palsy (sərē`brəl pôl`zē), disability caused by brain damage before or during birth or in the first years, resulting in a loss of voluntary muscular control and coordination. .
``Often times, it's hard for the disabled to communicate,'' said Kathryn Edwards, supervisor of educational services for the Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis Some of the information in this article may not be verified by . It should be checked for inaccuracies and modified to cite reliable sources.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) . ``These lessons teach non-disabled children what it's like to live with that kind frustration.''
Garden Grove has more than 100 special-needs students among its 600-student population and has become the daytime home for many of eastern Ventura County's most seriously disabled children.
Some of the children are so medically fragile that aides are assigned to ride with them on both morning and afternoon bus trips to and from school in case a child lapses into a life-threatening condition en route.
Some of these children attend classes with non-disabled students for part of the day, others are fully included with regular classroom activities.
``It is our hope that through this experience, students will learn how the disabled overcome their challenges,'' Kuehn said. ``They may even make some friends along the way.''
Photo: (Color) At Garden Grove Elementary School's awarenes s fair Sharell Porter, 7, holds a paintbrush (graphics, tool) Paintbrush - A Microsoft Windows tool for creating bitmap graphics. in her mouth to experience how a quadriplegic pupil would draw.
Andy Holzman/Special to the Daily News