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Disability Awareness Week

Disability Awareness Week has been an annual tradition at Hope since 1988. The week is important to the campus community as it helps in fulfilling Hope’s effort to value individuals and celebrate life and ability in the Christian context.
The goal of Disability Awareness Week is to give the Hope community an opportunity not only be educated in a meaningful way but also to showcase to the community the successful efforts of the college to make the campus accessible and to experience areas where troubled spots exist.

Link to previous DAW events


Each year a committee is formed and a theme is selected for the week. The theme is often a reflection of the keynote speaker or special event that is scheduled for that week.

There are events that occur every year. The following lays out the format that we use as an outline for each year.

This event is a great one to kick off DAW. During this time faculty, staff, and several students will begin their daylong mobility impairment simulation.  Wheelchairs are borrowed from a local medical supply store. For this event two faculty, two staff and four students will occupy a wheelchair for six, twelve, or twenty four hours. As these people go about their daily schedule, the campus becomes aware that it is Disability Awareness Week.

Throughout the day pictures are taken of the participants. These pictures are displayed on posters at the end of the week at the Ice Cream Social. The white socks they have been asked to wear, as a reminder to not use their feet, will be attached to their poster alongside their pictures.

This is an opportunity to simulate mobility impairment, hearing impairment, vision impairment, and learning disabilities, as well as learning about a number of hidden disabilities. Stations for each disability are set up with simulations, handouts and someone to answer questions and assist with the simulations.

The mobility impairment section has wheelchairs that can be borrowed. One must leave an ID or drivers license along with a phone number. They can take the wheelchairs on a wheelchair route throughout campus. If people wish, they can participate in a contest by logging in the time as they leave with a wheelchair. At each location on the route they are to obtain a token and when they return they log in their finish and present their tokens. The person with the shortest time wins a Hope sweatshirt blanket. This event gives individuals the opportunity to understand the challenge of navigating a fully accessible campus.

The hearing impairment section will have ear plugs to demonstrate what it is like to not be able to hear. A well known childhood movie will be playing and the students can attempt to lip read and understand the scenes.

The vision impairment section will have blindfolds and canes. Participants can walk down the hallways or do a blind walk through campus, with a guide, and see what it is like to navigate the campus as a blind person. A descriptive video with an individual narrating the action of the movie will be playing. Without the description, a blind person would not be able to pick up on gestures and key scenes. There is also a quote written on note cards in Braille. Individuals can decipher the quote by using a print copy of the Braille alphabet.

The learning disabilities section will have star tracers. The students will attempt to draw a line between the outer and inner edges of a star by only looking at the reflection in the mirror. This is a representation of dyslexia, a learning disability where letter and numbers appear interposed and backwards.

The hidden disabilities section will have handouts about disabilities that are not visually recognizable, such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, Chron’s disease, fibromyalgia, etc.

Enjoy a video with the addition of descriptive video services (DVS). DVS is an audio description included on a movie track to benefit people with visual impairments. Subtitles will also be used for the hearing impaired. Those who stay for a half hour will be entered into a drawing to win a prize. Try to select a movie that is popular to draw more of a crowd.

This room contains the latest in computer equipment for the visually impaired, blind and print impaired individual. Take a few minutes to stop by and experience this technology.

This is a nice event to concludes the week. Photos of the Wheelchair participants are displayed and the campus community comes together with an overall greater understanding of disability issues. The ice cream buffet is a sweet and fun way to conclude Disability Awareness Week.

The Counseling Center usually sponsors an event during disability awareness week.

The week is highlighted by a keynote speaker or performer with a disability or a professional who can address disability issues with a history of working in the field of disabilities. Special Events can include wheelchair basketball games, performers, speakers etc.

T-shirts, posters and schedules display the theme and logo of the week. T-shirts are given to committee members and wheelchair challenge participants. Tips, quotes, poems and cartoons are included in the schedule. Fliers advertise individual events and are also distributed over campus throughout the week.