By Jesus Figueroa
Activities and information booths centered around disabilities were set up at the walkway between the Swim Stadium and the parking structure of the East Los Angeles College’s main campus by the Disabled Student Program and Services (DSPS) office last Wednesday for the first Disability Awareness Day.
DSPS brought awareness to the many different types of disabilities, which affect a large number of students, all throughout the month of October.
“We wanted to make things more festive, like bringing in games to simulate some of the disabilities that the students go through,” DSPS director Grace Hernandez said.
Last Wednesday DSPS was joined by many different organizations from around Southern California for the event.
“We started the idea (for the Disability Awareness Day) back in late July. We actually began formatting the event with our program director Grace Hernandez. Now, two months later, we actually have 22 tabling vendors, 22 organizations that have come down, that are all disability related,” career guidance counseling assistant Carilla Clements said. “Most of these organizations are non-profit, government or student services that service our community.”
The activities that were centered on demonstrating what those with disability go through got the most attention. Those who participated in the event got to experience through the use of mittens, goggles and mirrors what it’s like to have certain disabilities and were rewarded with prizes for their participation.
“The games are really to create more awareness for disabilities,” Clements said. “There’s a game with goggles, the goggles are foggy, that’s to show what a person with a vision impairment would conduct themselves.”
The games were effective as more and more people became aware of the many difficulties that people with disabilities go through every day.
“A lot of great agencies are here supporting this event, making students aware and more conscious of the different disabilities that we serve here on campus,” Hernandez said. She hopes that if there are students that don’t know if they have a learning disability they see all the resources DSPS has to offer and to research more through the office.
“This is the biggest project that DSPS has had, I think to date. We had a turnout of between 200 to 300 students,” Clements said.
Hernandez said the event was sponsored by the Associate Student Union which donated $500 to offer food for the students in attendance.
Hot dogs were given to students who visited different booths and collected stamps from the organizations.
For more information visit the DSPS at their office E1-160 and schedule an appointment to talk with a counselor. To be part of the DSPS program, students need to present a verified disability documented by a doctor or from their high school.
“We really want to make sure people understand that, hey, even if you have a disability, it should never stop you,” Clements said.