Disability Awareness

YES! | Disability Awareness

YES! pushes for Disabiility Awareness in the schools

Elementary girls wearing special glasses to experience being blind

YES! has been active in promoting disability awareness in our larger community ever since it began. The YES! Board of Directors, under the direction of its Founder, Becki Forsell, made a concentrated effort to advocate for Disability Awareness in our elementary schools. After two years of direct education with our legislators in Tallahassee about the need for Disability Awareness in our schools, YES! was able to declare success in 2008 with the passing into law of the Disability Awareness and Instruction Statue.

This law directs K-12 schools to conduct Disability Awareness Training in the classroom, with a preference for including persons living with disabilities as instructors. Although the attached YES! budget needed to finance this initiative and support this new law was not funded by the state, YES! was able to get support provided on the county level by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. That support, along with the tenacity of the YES! members to promote this new inclusion program has led to YES! conducting Disability Awareness Training in some of our local schools.

YES! not only brings persons living with disabilities into the classroom to teach inclusion, but it has also produced teaching tools, and training aids to help our schools promote disabilities awareness.

classroom of people discussing disabilities

Training the Teachers

YES! believes in training the trainers, and as such, YES! has established a long list of community partners that it is working with in creating an effective Disability Awareness in the Schools Program. Some of the YES! partners include Project Connect, the Hillsborough County School Board, Freedom Playground, the Crisis Center, the Hillsborough County Alliance for People with Disabilities, and the USF Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.

In addition, many long-standing members of YES! have experience as teachers and are intimately aware of the nuances and needs in promoting Disabilities Awareness in the schools from their careers as teachers, their life experiences as persons living with disabilities, and their efforts in being strong community advocates for inclusiveness.

 

Engaging the Students

Becki Forsell teaching an elementary boy on using the white caneYES! has demonstrated the effectiveness of utilizing the collaboration of community partnerships, board membership, access to volunteers, legislators, and consultants who understand the inclusive message and mission of YES! to successfully create unique programs.

By partnering with professionals, volunteers, community leaders, and agencies, YES! has gained the trust of individuals to share their life experiences, to provide training, and to become committed to making inclusiveness a way of life for our community. YES! will be utilizing these assets to make the Disability Awareness in the schools Program both a success and a pilot for others to follow.

To see what YES! has been up to in this exciting and uncharted territory, go to our Disability Awareness website.

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