Disabled, not unable

October is Disability Awareness Month

As a student attending a university, there is a high probability you will meet someone with a disability. 

Disability Awareness Month spans the month of October and students and faculty are joining together to learn more about disabilities and remove common misconceptions. 

“The theme of this year’s disability awareness month is ‘Disability Debunked,’” Maggie Walcott, the administrative assistant to the President’s Office and chair of the planning committee of Disability Awareness Month said. “What we’re going with that is we want to take all of those preconceived notions, the assumptions, the presumptions, everything that people think that they know about what it is to live with a disability and just kind of smash those to pieces.” 

Disability Awareness Month at Ferris includes free events throughout the month that students can attend to become educated on what it’s like to live with a physical, mental or learning disability. 

The events include film presentations, a wheelchair basketball game played by the Grand Rapids Pacers and an event where students can meet and learn about service animals. 

“We want people there. We want you to bring a friend,” Walcott said. “We want you to see this theme in action, because living with a disability is so much more and less in a lot of ways than what people think.” 

Students can also enter an original piece, such as artwork, writing or a speech, that focuses on the topic of Disability Debunked. The winner will receive a $150 gift card to Barnes and Noble and will present their winning piece at the final event—the capstone forum—at the end of the month. 

“I think it’ll be beneficial on how we can learn how to help them or help them around if they need any assistance with like, getting around campus or any like, tutoring or things like that,” Ferris diagnostic medical sophomore Kamaria Lewis said. 

Disability Awareness Month is intended to provide insight and show just how many people have “invisible” disabilities that might go unnoticed. 

“Most people really don’t, you know, pay too much attention to people with disabilities,” Lewis said. “Some people kind of just brush it off but it’s kind of a significant aspect that we should all kind of indulge in.”