Independent Study Course (ISC) Update #1 & More : LUSENET : Stats Forum for Keller-plan Course : One Thread

Hi Everyone:

I trust that all is well.

As promised, I will write throughout the year on my experiences of taking an independent study course(ISC)with Dr. Israelite. The past two months have been both very exhausting but also very rewarding. There have been so many things that I have done both personally and as part of my ISC that I would never have enough time to write them all here. As such, I will provide highlights.

October started off with a bang with two mid-terms and an assignment due all within a week. I received a telephone call Thursday October 3, 2002 from the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada (MDAC) in which I was asked at the last minute to be a panelist for an Education and Employment Workshop for an event that they were holding on Saturday October 5, 2002. Apparently, they had been frantically trying to contact students with disabilities who were attending post-secondary education to be part of this panel but were having no luck. One can assume that everyone was busy writing mid-terms and essays.

I agreed. I was a sole presenter, representing the education sector. I described to both parents and peers my experiences while attending York University and the barriers that students with disabilities experience at the post-secondary level. Since there were a lot of high school students I used the opportunity to plug York as the best university for students with disabilities and highlighted the various support services offered. At the end I was presented with an MDAC T-shirt, coffee mug and Certificate of Appreciation.

Not only were they short on speakers they were also short on staff. As such, I assumed the position of Presenter where I introduced and then later thanked the remaining workshop leaders with the same materials that I was presented with.

Within a week I received a wonderful reference letter describing my involvement with their event.

There's been so many things that I've done with Dr. Israelite that I can't describe everything, but what I will do is present the two most meaningful things I've done. They are a cross-disability simulation which was held Thursday October 24, 2002 and a panel discussion of York students with disabilities that was held Thursday October 31, 2002.

A cross-disability simulation involves an attempt to simulate what the actual disability experience is like for students who do not have a disability. Dr. Israelite refers to such individuals as "the temporally able-bodied." This was accomplished through the use of wheelchairs to simulate a mobility disability, darkened goggles to simulate a visual disability and cotton swabs to simulate deafness/hard of hearing.

Able-bodied students were required to complete "ordinary" tasks on campus i.e. accessing the library or the bookstore while navigating by first using a wheelchair and then later on using the darkened goggles. To simulate deafness/hard of hearing cotton swabs were inserted into the ears of students and a spelling test was administered. To make the scenario more realistic and to prevent students from lip-reading inviligators held papers in front of their faces to cover their mouths or turned their backs to students while reading.

The goals of the cross-disability simulation were two-fold so that it not only raised awareness of the physical barriers that exist on campus, it also provided a multi-dimensional representation of the diversity that exists within the disability community as students experienced all three disabilities.

Following the cross-disability simulation, I organized a panel discussion of York students with disabilities where students in the class were able to hear the personal stories of five students with cross-disabilities (including myself) on the barriers (both physical and attitudinal) that students with cross-disabilities experience on a daily basis. I had double duties at the panel discussion as I was both a panelist and the Moderator. Professor Herzberg will recognize two of my panelists. Both Georgina Varga and Sylvia Alvaro participated.

The execution of cross-disability simulations and panel discussions are a very involved process in that I had to arrange the delivery, pick-up payment and storage of simulation materials (6 wheelchairs), design the cross-disability simulation scenarios through the use of multiple handouts so that each student had a completely different scenario, facilitate the actual cross-disability simulation, recruit students for the panel discussion and then finally participate as a panelist and moderator.

Both events lasted a total of six hours. The Office of Student Affairs was wonderful in that they allowed me to store the wheelchairs in their storage area overnight and for providing York University freebies like lanyards, coffee mugs, key chains and fridge magnets that I presented to the panelists after the panel discussion as a token of appreciation for their participation.

I trust that all is well and that this brief excerpt will satisfy the readers of the Stats Forum until my next posting.


P.S. Rachelle Najman began graduate studies this past September and is taking Qualitative Research Methods in Education with Dr. Israelite.

-- Anonymous, November 02, 2002

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