Sample Inclusion Project Activities


The activities were developed by the youth leaders on the Inclusion Project Steering Committee. If you would like to submit an activity, please click on the “Submit an Activity” link above.

The following sample inclusion activities are divided into Elementary, Middle, and High School.

Click the title of each section to view the details of the activity.


Elementary School Activities

Return to top

People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Physical Education Teacher, Teaching Assistants)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students, volunteers
Recommended Setting(s): Gymnasium, outdoors, hallway
Materials Needed: Manual wheelchairs, guide canes, obstacles
(e.g., cones, chairs, ladder, student’s legs, stairs)
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: To experience what a person with a physical or sensory disability goes through on a daily basis while moving around in school.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Survey the school to find ways that the school itself can be used to demonstrate obstacles for someone in a wheelchair.
  2. Set up obstacles for the students to navigate around while blindfolded or using a wheelchair (examples: moving through student filled hallways, finding an accessible entrance, picking up things off of the ground or reaching objects that are up high.)
  3. Set up a specific route through/around the school or classroom that includes various obstacles, have a specific goal in mind such as retrieving a book from the library or getting their lunch in the cafeteria.
  4. Schedule the activity, secure equipment, and plan logistics.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Explain the activity to the students and demonstrate how to use a guide cane and wheelchair.
  2. Have students maneuver a wheelchair or use a guide cane to navigate through the obstacles set up around the classroom or school. The other students should either watch or participate by becoming an obstacle (for example: a crowded hallway).
  3. After the activity bring the students back together and have them discuss what they experienced and what they learned from the activity.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What are two words that describe how you felt during the activity? Go around the room and have each student share his/her two words.
  2. What did you think about while trying to move around in the wheelchair?
  3. Was it easy to get around the obstacles while blindfolded and using a guide cane?
  4. Did it take longer to complete activities while you were in a wheelchair or blindfolded?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Science Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom (This may not be a good activity for K-4)
Materials Needed: Video, Audio/Visual Equipment
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will understand how people with disabilities use technology in their daily lives.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the following videos about people with disabilities using technology:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcUNnnwFm4g
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bhj5vs9P5cw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNV2n8hqF_c
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYmfrrY4Hfk
  2. Select videos or clips to share with students.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show videos or clips about the use of various types of assistive-technology.
  2. Discuss how technology can assist people with disabilities. Incorporate a lesson about technology and how it is used in daily life (i.e., iPad, computer, wheelchair).
  3. Ask students how technology has changed the way that people with disabilities participate in society.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What do you think about how people with disabilities use technology to communicate?
  2. How would you play with someone who has a disability?
  3. Do you think it is cool that people with disabilities can use technology to participate in different activities?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Music Teacher, Social Studies Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: AV Equipment, internet access, CDs, musical instruments, blind folds, cotton balls or ear plugs
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn about different musicians who have disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review video of George Dennehy: http://youtu.be/NvsTspJlGIc
  2. Review video of Stevie Wonder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo6LRLWUMwU
  3. Review video of Rick Allen, drummer for Def Leppard: http://youtu.be/bMyOab17LhA
  4. Select some recordings of Beethoven, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Rick Allen, and/or George Dennehy to play for the students.
  5. If you are using ear plugs instead of cotton balls, make sure that it is safe to put ear plugs in students’ ears. Be aware of any unforeseen issues about tying the student’s arms. Remember that it is the student’s choice to simulate an impairment.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Play the music by musicians with disabilities for students.
  2. Select a video or clip to share with students.
  3. Explain that the selected musicians have disabilities.
  4. Give the students musical instruments and play as a class a commonly known song (i.e., Pop Goes the Weasel, Baa Baa Black Sheep, The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round). Record the class playing the song.
  5. Have each student choose an impairment they would like to simulate (i.e., Tying their arm behind their back, blindfold, put cotton in their ears).
  6. Play the song again and record.
  7. Play both recordings and have class discussion by using the reflection questions.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What do you think about the musicians with disabilities?
  2. What do you think of the two recordings?
  3. What was the difference in playing the instrument while having your (arm tied behind your back or blindfolded, or cotton in your ears)? (Emphasize that these musicians have practiced)
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Science Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Examples of simple machines
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn about different simple machines and how the simple machines could work to assist people with disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review simple machines by visiting the following site: https://ees-ecsd-fl.schoolloop.com/simplemachines or by using your teaching resources.
  2. Review the following site for information about disability technology and devices: http://www.disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/
  3. Gather simple machines for the students to have hands on exploration.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Review the types of simple machines with the students. Explain that two simple machines make up a complex machine.
  2. Show the students several assistive technology and devices (i.e., wheelchairs, ramps, canes).
  3. Divide students into groups of three-four and have them work with simple machines to see how they work.
  4. Bring students back into large group to create a list of how simple machines that can help people with disabilities.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What simple machine did your group choose?
  2. How could this simple machine help those with disabilities?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Language Arts teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Story books about people with disabilities
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn from people with disabilities about their experiences of living with a disability.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the list of story books from the following links:
    http://www.clcd.com/blog/?p=453
    https://www.teachervision.com/learning-disabilities/reading/5316.html
  2. Choose two-three story books about people with disabilities. (Relate these books to the disabilities of those who will be on the panel)
  3. Contact your local Center for Independent Living or your Community Service Board to ask for recommendations of people with disabilities who can participate on the panel.
  4. Determine who will be invited to serve on the panel. Invite people with disabilities at least two weeks before, to participate on the panel. Explain the assignment to the individuals so they will be prepared to answer questions.

Step-By-Step Description:
  1. Read two–three storybooks about people with disabilities several days before the panel.
  2. Explain that the students will ask to have people with disabilities on a panel.
  3. The day before the panel, ask the students to develop a list of questions about the stories that were read to them to ask the panel.
  4. Panel of people with a disability will come to the class to tell their story and answer questions from the students.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What did you enjoy about what the panel shared with you?
  2. What will you tell your parents that you learned today?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Homeroom Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: iPad with app
Time Needed: 60 minutes

Goal: Students will experience what it is like for someone who has dyslexia.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review material regarding dyslexia from the following site: http://www.teachthought.com/apps-2/50-popular-ipad-apps-for-struggling-readers-writers/
  2. Review the following site for information and worksheets about dyslexia: http://www.american-dyslexia-association.com/Free/Worksheets.php
  3. Print out one or two worksheets for the students.
  4. Be aware that you might have students in the class with dyslexia and you might want to explain to these students that you will be talking about this before this activity.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Discuss dyslexia and how it might affect people.
  2. Review the app with the students.
  3. Distribute the worksheets to the students.
  4. Students complete the worksheets.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What is dyslexia?
  2. What did you learn about dyslexia?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Math Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials needed: N/A
Time Needed: 60 minutes each day for three days
Goal: Students will identify accessibility features in houses.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review pictures of accessible houses and choose ten to show to students from the following site: https://www.pinterest.com/independence1st/accessible-homes/
  2. Search for images of houses on the internet. Select ten houses to show students. (Be sure to choose houses with steps, no ramp, no cut out under sinks, and regular bathtubs.)
  3. Create a PowerPoint with the selected pictures.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Discuss architecture and how people build houses.
  2. Discuss that people require certain designs to live their independent lives (i.e., ramps, roll-in showers, wider doors).
  3. Show the PowerPoint with examples of accessible homes and rooms to the students.
  4. Have the students identify the differences between the accessible and non-accessible houses.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What are differences between the two types of houses?
  2. What are the accessible features?
  3. Do you or anyone you know have any accessible features in their home?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Art teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials needed: Art Supplies (brushes, paper, paint, tape) and cleaning supplies (peroxide, bleach wipes, rubbing alcohol)
Time Needed: 60 minutes each day for three days
Goal: Students will discover that anyone can create art, using different techniques and tools.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Web site. You can access the Web site by using the following URL: http://www.mfpausa.com/
  2. Allow 15 minutes to set up and explain how to do the activity, 20 minutes to do the activity, 10 minutes for discussion and 15 minutes for clean-up.
  3. Have paper taped to a surface for the students to paint on, and also have non-toxic paint and brushes for students to use (use new brushes or the handles will have been cleaned with peroxide).

Step By Step Description:
  1. 1) Show students the video about The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists which can be accessed on YouTube by using the following URL: http://youtu.be/b37uP0OggNw
  2. 2) Explain to the students that they will be creating an original painting. The paintings can be any style, but they must create their paintings without using their hands (e.g., using mouth, toes, elbows, or feet).
  3. 3) After completing their paintings, students will share their creations with each other and discuss what they learned from the experience.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Do you think you can use your body parts in different ways for creating art?
  2. What do you think it is like for someone who cannot use their hands for everyday tasks?
  3. How could you help an artist with a disability create a work of art?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Science teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials needed: iPhone, iPad, hearing aids, microphone, paper, and other technologies that assist people with disabilities
Time Needed: 60 minutes each day for three days
Goal: Students will discover that anyone can create art, using different techniques and tools.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the following article about assistive technology devices: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/assistive-devices.aspx or http://ctdinstitute.org/library/2014-10-13/fact-sheet-assistive-technology-solutions
  2. Select pictures of assistive technology devices and make copies or a PowerPoint.
  3. Put pictures of assistive technology devices around the room.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Divide the students into groups of two.
  2. Each group will receive a piece of paper that has different pictures of technology devices.
  3. The students will walk around the room to match the picture of the technology device and the identical picture posted on the walls.
  4. Once all of the students match all of the pictures. Go around the room and explain the purpose of each item of and how the different technologies work.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What did you learn about the assistive devices?
  2. Do you know anyone who uses an assistive technology device?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group 
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (History teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Disability Timeline, A/V Equipment
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will be able to identify an event in United States History that pertains to people with disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the following site link: https://www.disabilityisnatural.com/people-first-language.html
  2. Review interactive site: http://www.ncld-youth.info/index.php?id=61
  3. Choose one timeline that you would like to use. Select 2 or 3 events that you want to focus on during the class.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Divide students into 3 or 4 groups.
  2. Review the timeline and focus on the two or three events chosen.
  3. Explain how people with disabilities lived throughout history and their contributions.
  4. Have each group choose one of the events and discuss how they would or would not like to be that person.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What event did your group choose and why?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Language Arts Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: List of vocabulary words pertaining to disability field
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn new terms related to disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review disability terminology list of words.
  2. Develop an age appropriate vocabulary list related to disability.
  3. Create a handout of the vocabulary list.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Ask students if they know any words that are appropriate to use when talking about people with disabilities.
  2. As a class, have a discussion about which of the words are or are not appropriate.
  3. Give the students the vocabulary list.
  4. As a class develop sentences using each vocabulary word in a positive manner.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What kind of feelings do these words bring about?
  2. What words did you use before this lesson to talk about someone with a disability?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Language Arts Teacher or Social Studies Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: List of People First Language
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn to use People First Language when talking about people with disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the article about People First Language by using the following URL: https://www.disabilityisnatural.com/people-first-language.html
  2. Prepare a short presentation on People First Language.
  3. Write People First Language on slips of paper.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Explain People First Language.
  2. Review the list of People First Language.
  3. Divide the students into pairs and give them a slip with People First Language.
  4. Each pair of students will write a sentence using the People First Language on their slip of paper.
  5. Each pair will share their sentence with the class.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Why is it important to use People First Language?
  2. Was it difficult to put People First Language into a sentence?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Physical Education Teacher or Music Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Gymnasium
Materials Needed: Music (CD), blindfolds (bandanas)
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Student will use music and body movement to simulate a person dancing/moving with a visual impairment/blindness.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the video that shows blind dancers: http://youtu.be/sxK3OnAqLf8
  2. Review the video about Talita dream was to be in ballerina: http://youtu.be/cMF376m-PfQ
  3. Obtain a CD with the sound track from “The Jungle Book.”
  4. Choose one of the videos to show during class.
  5. It is important to let the students choose to be blindfolded and you should not single them out if they choose not to.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show the video about blind dancers.
  2. Divide the students into two groups. One group will be blindfolded and the other group will observe.
  3. Students will listen to the music and move their body “in place” to express how the music makes them feel.
  4. When the music stops the students will sit down in the circle.
  5. The groups will change places and follow steps 3-7 above.

Reflection Questions:
  1. How did the music make you feel?
  2. What do you think of the way the students danced while being blindfolded?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Jumbo marshmallows and note cards with phrases or questions
Materials Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will increase their understanding of people with communication disorders.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Definitions of Communication Disorders and Variations” by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA): http://www.asha.org/policy/RP1993-00208/
  2. Develop note cards with simple phrases and questions (e.g., I need to go to the bathroom, may I get a drink of water, my name is_____, will you help me, my favorite TV show is_____, can you help me with _____.).
  3. Make sure that none of the students have an allergy to the marshmallows. If a student has an allergy, you may substitute cotton balls or gauze to help simulate speech impairment.
  4. It is important to let the students choose to participate and you should not single them out if they choose not to.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Divide the students into pairs.
  2. Have the students wash their hands.
  3. Have each student put marshmallows, or other items, in their mouth (cheeks).
  4. Give each student a card with a phrase or question they will have to say.
  5. Have each pair of students try to communicate with each other what their cards say.
  6. After the activity, bring the class back together for a discussion.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What was most difficult about the task?
  2. How did it make you feel when you were not being understood?
Authors: Elementary School Work Group

Middle School Activities

Return to top

People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Noise cancelling headphones
Time Needed: 45 minutes

Goal: Students will learn what it feels like to have a communication challenge.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Definitions of Communication Disorders and Variations” by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The paper can be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.asha.org/policy/RP1993-00208/
  2. Generate simple sentences that can be acted out without using words (i.e., I’m sleepy or I want a drink of water.) and write these phrases on pieces of paper. (NOTE: Develop a sentence for each student in the class.)

Step By Step Description:
  1. Pass out the sentences to each student and ask them to read the questions to themselves but do not share them with each other.
  2. Pass out the headphones to half of the class.
  3. Ask one of the students to come to the front of the class to help demonstrate the activity. The teacher and student will demonstrate by reading a sample question and acting it out. After the student removes the headphones they should guess what the teacher was trying to communicate.
  4. After the demonstration is complete, ask the students to find a partner. In pairs, one student will act out their sentence without using words while the other wears the headphones. The student wearing the headphones should try to guess what the other student was trying to communicate. The students should switch so that they each have a turn acting out a sentence.
  5. After each student has a chance to act out a sentence with their partner, the teacher will reconvene the class and ask the reflection questions below.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Was it difficult to communicate using this method?
  2. What would have helped?
  3. How can you communicate with someone who has a difficult time using words to express what they want to say? How could you help the person communicate with others?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Physical Education Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: One-Two spotters and base operators. At least 12 students
Recommended Setting(s): Gymnasium
Materials Needed: Two - 4 foot high padded cylinders with speakers, ball that emits beeping sound, bats, blindfolds, helmets, baseball gloves, a computer and projector
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will have a better understanding of how people with vision impairments can play baseball.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the National Beep Baseball Association Web site by using the following URL: http://www.nbba.org
  2. Review Beep Baseball rules by using the following URL: https://nbba.org/rules/
  3. Review the video in the step-by-step description below.
  4. Setting up the field: Set up two bases consisting of 4-foot high padded cylinders that have speakers that are 100-feet down their respective lines and 10-feet from the foul lines, with a volunteer to stand at each base (base operator). There is no second base.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show the video to the students to allow them to become familiar with the Beep Baseball:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j77yvacmTqM
  2. Students will be divided into two teams.
  3. Once the teams are selected, students will pick two people on each team to be a ‘spotter’ and a pitcher.
  4. Students will be blindfolded except for the spotters and pitchers.
  5. One team goes on the field and the other one will be at the bat.
  6. The pitcher will throw the ball, which emits a beeping sound and the batter attempts to hit the ball.
  7. The batter is allotted four strikes (swings) before they are out. Once the ball is hit, the base operator activates one of the bases to emit a buzzing sound and the batter must identify the base and run. The runner has to reach the buzzing base before the defense catches the ball.
  8. Spotters can help by giving verbal cues.
  9. If a defensive player catches the ball before the runner reaches the buzzing base, there is no score and the runner is out. However, if the runner reaches the buzzing base before a defensive player catches the ball then the runner scores for their team. The team rotates after three outs and traditionally the game is played in six innings.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Did you think it was hard to hit the ball or find the bases without your vision?
  2. Was this as fun as regular baseball? Why?
  3. What was it like to be a spotter and be the only person that has vision?
  4. How can you be a “spotter” and help your friends who have disabilities, or even the ones who do not, play baseball?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Social Studies Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: A computer and projector
Materials Needed: 45 – 60 minutes
Goal: Students will be able to identify at least one key event in the disability rights movement.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the following disability history timelines:
  2. Select a timeline of events from Disability History. Write different events from the timeline on pieces of paper.
  3. Draw the timeline on the board, but do not write the events on the board.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Teach the students about the timeline of events from Disability History.
  2. After the lesson, have the students choose partners.
  3. Give each pair of students one of the pieces of paper with the Disability History events on them.
  4. Have each pair figure out where on the timeline their event happened, and either put their paper on the board, or stand where they should be on the timeline.
  5. As a group, have a discussion about some of the events and allow students to talk about how they feel about the events and if they can imagine being involved in the event if they had been around during that time.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Which event do you think was the most important in Disability History? Why?
  2. What would you have done if you had been around for one of the events, would you have been an advocate?
  3. How do you think the people involved in the event felt? Were they angry, happy, sad, passionate or outraged? Why did they feel that way?
Author: Middle School Work Group
Keywords: Simulation, Accommodation
People Needed to Organize: One (Physical Education Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Gymnasium, outdoors
Materials Needed: Obstacles (cones, stepping stairs, etc.) Wheelchairs, Petrabikes, Walkers and Crutches
Time Needed: 45 – 60 minutes
Goal: Students will have a better understanding of how balance and movement are experienced by people with physical disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Be sure to add enough time to obtain the material. You may want to consult with the school OT or PT.
  2. Review “Dexterity and Mobility Impairment Fact Sheet” by Georgia Institute of Technology. The fact sheet can be accessed by using the following URL: http://accessibility.gtri.gatech.edu/assistant/acc_info/factsheet_dexterity_mobility.php
  3. Set up an obstacle course that the students will have to maneuver through by using obstacles above.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Begin the activity by describing the equipment to the students. Ask for a volunteer to help introduce and demonstrate how each piece of equipment is properly used. Safety issues should be emphasized throughout the demonstration (e.g., lean forward in the wheelchair, spatial awareness).
  2. Demonstrate how the students are to move through the obstacle course. Each obstacle within the course represents a real life situation:
    • moving up and down curbs
    • reaching for high objects
    • opening and closing doors
    • maneuvering through narrow passages
    • moving through different pathways (e.g., zigzagging between cones)
  3. Students will travel through the course in pairs, by means of wheelchairs, petrabikes, walkers and crutches. The pair will change roles after each has completed a tour of the course.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What were the most difficult challenges you faced during the activity?
  2. What are similar challenges that a person using a wheelchair might find in a daily life?
  3. Were there obstacles which were impossible to overcome without asking for assistance?
  4. Can you think of other adapted equipment that people with disabilities use in sports or daily life (e.g., guide dog, prosthetic devices, white cane)?
  5. How can you assist a person with a disability in an effective way?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least five (5)
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Pen, Pencil, tape, and Rubber Bands
Time Needed: 30 minutes
Goal: Students will have a better understanding of how fine motor skills are important for writing.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the following articles:
    1. “What is Dyspraxia” by Understood. The article can be accessed by using the following article: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyspraxia/understanding-dyspraxia
    2. “Fine Motor Skills” by The Encyclopedia of Children’s Health. This article can be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.healthofchildren.com/E-F/Fine-Motor-Skills.html

Step By Step Description:
  1. Have students write a sentence of their choosing. The sentence should be at least 10 words long and written in the students’ regular handwriting.
  2. Have students tape or rubber band one or two fingers and their thumb together to simulate fine motor skill difficulties and then have them write the same sentence on a different piece of paper.
  3. Students will pass the second sentence to another student to see if they can read their writing.

Reflection Questions:
  1. If you were living with a fine motor skill disability, what types of accommodations do you think would make it easier for you to write?
  2. What do you think it is like for someone to experience everyday tasks without the ability to fully use their hands?
  3. How would you help someone who has a fine motor skills disability?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Art Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least three (3) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom/Outdoors
Materials Needed: Art Supplies (brushes, paper, paint, tape) and cleaning supplies (peroxide, bleach wipes, rubbing alcohol)
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will increase their knowledge about how a person with a disability might use different body parts in different ways.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Web site. You can access the web site by using the following URL: http://www.mfpausa.com/
  2. Allow 15 minutes to set up and explain how to do the activity, 20 minutes to do the activity, 10 minutes for discussion and 15 minutes for clean-up.
  3. Have paper taped to a surface for the students to paint on, and also have non-toxic paint and brushes for students to use (use new brushes or the handles will have been cleaned with peroxide).

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show students the video about The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists which can be accessed on YouTube by using the following URL: http://youtu.be/b37uP0OggNw
  2. Explain to the students that they will be creating an original painting. The paintings can be any style, but they must create their paintings without using their hands (e.g., using mouth, toes, elbows, or feet).
  3. After completing their paintings, students will share their creations with each other and discuss what they learned from the experience.

Reflection Questions:
  1. After this experience how do you think you can use your body parts in different ways for creating art but also in all aspects of life?
  2. What do you think it is like for someone who cannot use their hands for everyday tasks?
  3. How could you help an artist with a disability create a work of art?
  4. How could you help someone with a disability perform everyday tasks such as eating, drinking, school work, etc.?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Jumbo marshmallows and note cards with phrases or questions
Time Needed: 30 minutes
Goal: Students will increase their understanding of people with communication disorders.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Definitions of Communication Disorders and Variations” by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The paper can be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.asha.org/policy/RP1993-00208/
  2. Develop note cards with phrases and questions (e.g., I need to go to the bathroom, may I get a drink of water, my name is_____, will you help me, my favorite TV show is_____, can you help me with _____.).
  3. Make sure that none of the students have an allergy to the marshmallows. If a student has an allergy, you may substitute cotton balls or something else that will simulate speech impairment.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Divide the students into pairs.
  2. Have the students wash their hands.
  3. Have each student put marshmallows, or other items, in their mouth (cheeks) to simulate a speech impairment.
  4. Give each student a card with a phrase or question they will have to say.
  5. Have each pair of students try to communicate with each other what their cards say.
  6. After the activity, bring the class back together for a discussion.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What was most difficult about the task?
  2. How did it make you feel when you were not being understood?
  3. What challenges do you think someone with a speech impairment faces when they try to communicate with others during their daily lives?
Authors: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Social Studies Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Paper, scissors, pen, pencil glue
Time Needed: 45 minutes
Goal: Students will learn about famous people with disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Famous People with Disabilities” by Indiana Institute on Disabilities and Community. The paper can be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb/fpwdinfo.html
  2. Review the instructions on how to make a dice by using the following URL: http://www.ehow.com/how_2043989_cubedice-out-paper.html
  3. Develop a handout for the students with instructions on how to make a dice.
  4. Develop different handouts with names and biographical information of famous people with disabilities. Include six names per handout and enough different handouts for each pair of students in the class to have a different set of names.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Teach the students about famous people with disabilities by showing them the Web site or handouts.
  2. Divide the students into pairs.
  3. Give students the handouts with instructions on how to make the dice and the six names of famous people with disabilities.
  4. Each pair of students will make a die with one of the names on each face of the die.
  5. Each pair will exchange their die with another pair of students. Students will roll the dice and their partner will find the famous person with a disability on the handout and share facts about them. Each pair should repeat this at least three times.
  6. Reconvene the class for a discussion.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Who were you most surprised to find out had a disability and why?
  2. Does this change the way you think about this person?
  3. How do you think this person copes with their disability?
  4. Do you think famous people try to hide their disability? Why?
  5. How will you look at famous people with disabilities after this activity?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Math Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least five (5) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Bingo cards with names of famous people who had disabilities, chips/ markers, cards with information about each famous person.
Time Needed: 45 minutes
Goal: Students will learn about famous people with disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Famous with People with Disabilities” by Indiana Institute on Disabilities and Community. The list may be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb/fpwdinfo.html
  2. Develop the Bingo cards with a famous person with disabilities (from the Web site) on each square.
  3. List one fact about each famous person with a disability (from the Web site) on one side of an index card and the name of the person on the other side.
  4. Prepare a lesson on famous people with disabilities from the Web site.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Give a lesson about the famous people with disabilities from the Web site.
  2. Pass out a bingo card to each student with chips or a marker to cover up the squares.
  3. The teacher or a student will choose from the stack of index cards and call out the fact about the famous person listed on the card. The students will mark on the Bingo card the name of the famous person that they think the fact applies to.
  4. Continue to call out facts until one of the students calls BINGO!
  5. Check the student’s card. If they have bingo, the game is over. If not, the game continues until someone has BINGO!
  6. After the game is over, lead the class in a discussion about famous people with disabilities and have them answer the questions below.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Who were you most surprised to find out had a disability and why?
  2. Does this change the way you think about the person?
  3. How do you think this person copes with their disability?
  4. Do you think famous people try to hide their disabilities? Why?
  5. How will you look at famous people differently after this activity?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: 1-2 (Home Room Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least 4 students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Beach ball with names of famous people with disabilities.
Time Needed: 20 – 30 minutes
Goal: Students will learn about famous people with disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Famous with People with Disabilities” by Indiana Institute on Disabilities and Community. The list can be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb/fpwdinfo.html
  2. Write names of famous people with disabilities on each section of the beach ball.
  3. Make a separate list of the famous people with disabilities and facts under each person’s name.

Step By Step Description:
  1. The students will form a circle and the teacher will toss the ball to a student.
  2. The student that catches the ball will tell the class the name of the person that’s under their right index finger.
  3. The teacher will read a fact about the famous person with disabilities to the class.
  4. The student with the ball will toss the ball to another student and the cycle will continue until everybody has a turn or until every fact about the famous people with disabilities has been shared.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Who were you most surprised to find out had a disability and why?
  2. Does this change the way you think about the person?
  3. How do you think this person copes with their disability?
  4. Do you think famous people try to hide their disabilities? Why?
  5. How will you look at famous people differently after this activity?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Paper, writing utensils
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will poetically express what they think it is like to have a disability. Students who have disabilities will be able to express what it is like to have a disability and possibly make others aware of how they can be included in everyday life.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Disability Culture: A Fact Sheet” by Steven E. Brown. The list can be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.independentliving.org/docs3/brown96a.html
  2. Decide what subject matter will be taught during the class and how a poem will fit into that lesson.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Have students write a poem about what they think it might be like to have something different about themselves that is challenging. The poem should be about what they think it might be like or about an experience that they think they might encounter.
  2. Find a way to include subject matter that the class has been studying. For example, an English teacher might have students focus on inverted syntax, couplets, extended metaphors, or whatever grammatical or literary topic they have been studying.
  3. Students will read their poems aloud if they are comfortable doing so.
  4. Have a class discussion about some of the issues that come up in the poems.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Did writing this poem make you think about dealing with a disability in a different way than you did before?
  2. Would you be a different person if you had a disability?
  3. Did your poem have a negative outlook or a positive outlook? Why?
  4. Does your poem reflect how you see people with disabilities?
  5. Do you think it reflects how people with disabilities see themselves?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Paper and pens or pencils
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will critically think about inclusion of people with disabilities in a classroom and/or in the community.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children” on the Inclusive Schools Network Web site by using the following URL: https://inclusiveschools.org/together-we-learn-better-inclusive-schools-benefit-all-children/
  2. Be prepared to lead a discussion with the students on the topic of inclusion.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Write this question on the board, “Do you think the people with disabilities are included in our schools and/or in society? Why or why not?”
  2. Students will have 10 to 15 minutes to write as much as they want about what they believe and why.
  3. Teacher will ask each student to share their response with the class.
  4. Discuss as a group what the students wrote about and how it impacts their daily lives.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What does the class think as a whole about the issue of inclusion?
  2. How did you feel after the experience of writing about your thoughts on inclusion?
  3. Would you have written more about what you think if you had more time?
  4. If people with disabilities aren’t included, then how could they be included?
  5. Do you have any personal stories or examples about this topic?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Math Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Paper and pencils or pens
Time Needed: 45 minutes
Goal: Students will learn about accommodations and modifications useful in order for people with disabilities to live independent lives.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review The Family Center on Technology and Disability Web site and read the article “Assistive Technology 101” by using the following URL: http://ctdinstitute.org/sites/default/files/file_attachments/Assistive%20Technology%20101_0.pdf

Step By Step Description:
  1. Ask the students to write down their daily routines.
  2. Give them a scenario that makes them think about how their daily routine would be different if they had a disability (e.g., if they had to use a wheelchair, cane, or walker) and what accommodations they might need because of their disability.
  3. Students should talk about what kinds of technology or accommodations (i.e., curb cuts, ramps, specialized switches, roll in showers, or even an iPad) they think could be used to help someone with a disability.
  4. Have students write their responses on the board and discuss as a group.
  5. For a Math Teacher, explain how math is used in the design of different accommodations and technology and talk about who might use the same accommodations and modifications as someone who needs them because they have a disability.

Reflection Questions:
  1. How has this changed your perspective on disability?
  2. Do you think it would be difficult to have a disability without accommodations and technology?
  3. Would you want help if you were in one of these situations?
  4. Do you think people with disabilities do not ask for help when they need it? Why?
  5. Can you think of someone in your daily life that you could help in the future? How would you help them? Would you ask them if they need assistance before helping them?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Computer, projector and screen, plain paper, handout, writing utensils
Time Needed: 45 minutes
Goal: Students will gain knowledge of how people with dyslexia see and read text.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Read “Understanding Dyslexia” by the NCLD Editorial Team by using the following URL: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/understanding-dyslexia
  2. Teacher will develop a power point to share with the class on how text looks to someone with dyslexia. Review Before and After Writing Samples from students diagnosed with dyslexia by using the following URL: http://www.dyslexia.org/before_after.shtml
  3. Teacher will develop a handout with writing samples of how people with dyslexia write

Step By Step Description:
  1. Using the power point, share with the class the definition of dyslexia and demonstrate how print may look to someone who has dyslexia.
  2. The group will look at samples of text without the use of vowels, incorrect spacing, and with words running together.
  3. Students will write down what they think each writing sample says. After each student completes the activity, the teacher will reveal what each sample actually says.
  4. Students will finish the exercise by writing one sentence about how they felt not being able to read and discuss with the group.

Reflection Questions:
  1. How did you feel when the teacher gave you the writing samples?
  2. What challenges do you think people with dyslexia face on a daily basis?
  3. What do you think would make it easier for a person with dyslexia to read?
Author: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: Five (Planning Committee)
People Needed to Carry Out: Whole School
Recommended Setting(s): Hallway
Materials Needed: Posters, signs, banners, etc.
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: To begin the day of total inclusion.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Reach out to the community about the Inclusion Project (independent living centers, community service boards, Sportable, Commonwealth Autism Services, Arc of Virginia, Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services, etc.).
  2. School Administration should write a memo about Inclusion Project to share with the school on the morning of Inclusion Project.
  3. Create and gather materials and decorations for Inclusion Project (pictures/artwork created by people with disabilities, informational posters, wheel chairs and equipment, supplies for each activity, etc.).

Step By Step Description:
  1. After the bell rings and all students are in their classrooms, teachers and volunteers should begin hanging signs, instructional posters, decorations, etc. in the hallways around the school.
  2. Have a student with a disability who identifies as a self-advocate take over the morning announcements to introduce Inclusion Project to the student body.
  3. The student making the announcement should invite students to come out into the hallways to see what the Inclusion Project is all about.
  4. Students can read posters and look at all of the decorations on the way to the auditorium for an assembly to kick off the Inclusion Project (maybe have guest speakers and have the band play).
  5. Begin the school day of full inclusion.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What did you learn from this assembly?
  2. What did you learn from the posters and decorations in the hallway?
  3. Did you learn anything from the guest speaker(s)? What did you learn?
Authors: Middle School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: Whole school
People Needed to Carry Out: Whole school
Recommended Setting(s): Gym or auditorium
Materials Needed: Microphone
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: To come together as a school and share how the Inclusion Project impacted the students.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Set up the gym or auditorium for an assembly.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Give closing remarks and invite students to share what they learned from the Inclusion Project.
  2. Have a guest speaker share their experience(s) with the school.
  3. Wrap up the day.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What did you learn from the Inclusion Project?
  2. Do you think you will be better able to interact with people who have disabilities after your experience today?
Authors: Middle School Work Group

High School Activities

Return to top

People Needed to Organize: Two-Three (Physical Education Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least 6 students
Recommended Setting(s): Gymnasium
Materials Needed: Volleyballs, several volleyball nets, cones, computer, AV equipment, internet access or YouTube clip
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will understand how people with physical disabilities can play Volleyball.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the Sitting Volleyball in the United States Web site by using the following URL: http://www.sittingvolleyball.org. Watch the video on the home page.
  2. Review Sitting Volleyball rules by using the following URL: https://sittingvolleyball.org/rules/
  3. Set up the playing court by placing the cones at the corner of the boundaries. The regulation sitting court size is 6 x 10m. Boundary lines are included in the court. The centerline divides the court into two courts, 6 x 5m each. The net is 1.15m for men and 1m for women. (It is recommended to use the women’s height for high school.)
  4. Have the class decide whether they will be playing seated volleyball or if they will not be able to use one limb while they play (i.e., can only stand on one leg or have one hand tied behind their back).

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show the students the video on the Sitting Volleyball in the United States Web site.
  2. Review the rules of Sitting Volleyball with the students.
  3. Divide into either two or four teams (depending on the class size), choose referee and ball chasers.
  4. Play a volleyball match (winner is the first team to reach 10 points or the team has the most points after 20-minute).
  5. Once the game is over have the students gather and talk about their experience playing Sitting Volleyball.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What was it like to play volleyball without being able to use one of your limbs?
  2. What was it like to play volleyball from a seated position?
  3. How did you adapt to playing Sitting Volleyball?
Author: High School Workgroup
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting/s: Classroom
Materials Needed: Computer, AV equipment, internet access or YouTube clip, paper, pencil
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn that having a disability does not stop someone from living their life and having fun.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the video by using the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCgUOFHXBOw
  2. Decide whether you want to show the whole video (5:39) to the class or a clip of your choice (ex. 0:42-1:00-frontflip).
  3. Set up computer and AV equipment and load the video.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show the students the video.
  2. Students will write a short response on how the video made them think differently about people with disabilities (infuse what the students are learning in English class such as syntax). Give the students 30 minutes to complete this step.
  3. Ask the students to share what they wrote with the class by asking the reflection questions.

Reflection Questions:
  1. After watching the video do you think the individual has a disability?
  2. How did you view change after watching the video?
  3. Does everyone have abilities?
Author: High School Workgroup
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English or Math Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting/s: Classroom
Materials Needed: Paper, pictures, small handheld mirrors and handout
Time Needed: 30 to 60 minutes
Goal: Students will understand how dyslexia impacts someone’s life by completing the following exercise.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Obtain hand mirrors and paper that can be used for this activity.
  2. Review “Understanding Dyslexia” by the National Center for Learning Disabilities Editorial Team by using the following URL: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/understanding-dyslexia
  3. Prepare the information you will share with the class.
  4. Prepare handout for students with numbers words and/or pictures.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Talk about what Dyslexia is and how it affects people in their daily life.
  2. Teacher will give each student a paper placed face down (with numbers, words, and/or pictures on it) WITHOUT looking at the paper, the mirror, a separate blank sheet of paper.
  3. Students will use the mirror to look at the numbers, words, and/ or draw pictures.
  4. They will draw what they see in the mirror.
  5. After 15-30 minutes the students will stop and compare their writing/drawing to original paper.
  6. Students will discuss what they learned from the activity and will discuss dyslexia and how it affects people in their daily life.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What is dyslexia?
  2. Do you know someone who has dyslexia (be aware if you have someone with dyslexia in your class, do not embarrass them)?
  3. What are some tools someone with dyslexia can use?
  4. What did you learn from this activity about dyslexia?
Authors: High School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Physical Education Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Computer, AV equipment, internet access or YouTube clip, one-two wheelchairs, and cones, doors, sidewalks and steps
Time Needed: 30 to 60 minutes
Goal: Students will experience how people with physical disabilities navigate in life.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review Aarons Fotheringham’s YouTube video using the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_xfx0nzT0k
  2. Survey the school to find ways that the school itself can be used to demonstrate obstacles for someone in a wheelchair.
  3. Set up a specific route through/around the school or classroom that includes various obstacles, have a specific goal in mind such as retrieving a book from the library or getting their lunch in the cafeteria.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show students Aaron Fotheringham’s video.
  2. Allow each student to take a turn following the obstacle course in the wheelchair.
  3. The other students will observe as each student attempts the obstacle course.
  4. Students will discuss their experience and answer the following reflection questions.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What was your favorite part of the video about Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham?
  2. How did you feel while using the wheelchair to navigate through the school?
  3. Will this experience change the way you think about people who have disabilities?
Author: High School Work Group, adapted from YouTube
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Geography Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Computer, AV equipment, internet access or Ted Talk clip
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn that disability is only one aspect of an individuals’ life.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the Ted Talk video by using the following URL: https://www.ted.com/talks/maysoon_zayid_i_got_99_problems_palsy_is_just_one?language=en
  2. Review the article “Facts About Cerebral Palsy” on the Center for Disease Control Web site by using the following URL: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/facts.html
  3. Decide if you are going to show the whole video or just parts of the video.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show students the Ted Talk video or clip.
  2. Have a class discussion about the video.
  3. Optional: Have the students write a short essay that synthesizes the class discussion.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What problems did Maysoon discuss during the video?
  2. What did you think about her experience with her family?
  3. How do you think Maysoon handled the multiple issues in her life?
  4. What are some of Maysoon’s accomplishments?
  5. Why do you think Hollywood and casting directors do not hire actors with disabilities?
Author: High School Work Group, adapted from “I got 99 Problems and Palsy Is Just One” Ted Talk clip.
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (History Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Computer, AV equipment, YouTube clip
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn some positive aspects of people living with a physical disability.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Print or be prepared to show the picture of Nick Vujicic’s full body on the projector. Click on the following URL to see the picture: http://www.todayonline.com/sites/default/files/styles/photo_gallery_image_lightbox/public/16108630.JPG?itok=AyFeufcC
  2. Review the video about Nick and decide whether you want to show the whole clip or just part(s) of the clip. Access the clip by using the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lrXTvOTncU

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show students the picture of Nick.
  2. Have students write down what they think of Nick; what is he capable of, what do they think he does, etc.
  3. After they have written down a few ideas, show students the YouTube clip of Nick.
  4. Have students compare what they initially thought about Nick to what they think after seeing the clip.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What did you first think of Nick?
  2. Are you surprised that he is able to play soccer and other sports?
  3. How did your opinions of Nick change after seeing the video?
  4. Did you like what he had to say about body image? Do you feel more confident after seeing the video?
  5. In the video, Nick talks about marriage. If you were old enough, would you consider marrying someone with a disability?
Author: High School Work Group, adapted from YouTube
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (English Teacher)
People Needed to Organize: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Paper bags, slips of paper, chalk, pens
Time Needed: 30 to 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn to use People First Language when talking or writing about people with disabilities and gain understanding of how it impacts attitudes towards people with disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the article about People First Language by using the following URL: https://www.disabilityisnatural.com/people-first-language.html
  2. Prepare a short presentation on People First Language.
  3. Find at least five different articles about people with disabilities by doing an internet search.
  4. Read the articles before the class to see if you can pick out the use— or non-use— of People First Language.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Teach students about People First Language.
  2. Divide class into groups and give one of the articles to each group.
  3. Have each group read the articles and decide whether or not People First Language is used.
  4. After each group has time to read and discuss the article, bring the class back together.
  5. Have each group give a brief summary of their article and explain whether or not People First Language is used in the article and why.
  6. If the article gives enough detail about the individual for students to form an opinion of the individual, have the students discuss what they thought about people with disabilities before reading the article and after reading the article (i.e., if the individual in the article has accomplished something that someone might not think is possible because of the individual’s disability, if the individual is a victim of a crime are they more sympathetic).

Reflection Questions:
  1. What is People First Language and how is it used?
  2. Was it easy to separate the words that brought up positive images from the negative ones?
  3. Do you think you can use People First Language when communicating with others?
  4. What terms have you heard that refer to individuals with disabilities? Are these terms appropriate or inappropriate? Why?
  5. Do you think it is important for reporters and journalists to use People First Language? Why?

In-class/Homework: Have each student explain People First Language to 3 different people (e.g., friend, parent, family member) and then have them talk about what they learned from teaching others during the next class.

Author: High School Work Group, adapted from Vanderbilt and University of Hawaii: http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/wp-content/uploads/pdf_activities/group/IA_People_First_Language.pdf
People Needed to Organize: One (English Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom
Materials Needed: Paper, pencil
Time Needed: 45 minutes
Goal: Students will learn new terms related to disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review disability terminology.
  2. Review the article “Disability-Friendly Terminology” by using the following URL: https://disabilityinfo.org/fact-sheet-library/information-referral/disability-friendly-terminology
  3. Develop a vocabulary list related to disability.
  4. Optional: Give students a homework assignment to research disability-friendly terminology and bring in a list of words that they think are appropriate.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Teacher will ask students if they know any words that are appropriate to use when talking about disability (If the optional homework assignment was given, ask students to share what they found).
  2. As a class, have a discussion about which of the words are or are not appropriate.
  3. During or after the discussion, teacher will share with students the vocabulary list that they came up with.
  4. Discuss what images are portrayed by each term that the students came up with or that were introduced by the teacher.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What kind of research did you do to find your words?
  2. What kind of feelings do these words bring about?
  3. What words did you use before this lesson to talk about someone with a disability?
Author: High School Workgroup
People Needed to Organize: One (History Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classrooms; auditorium
Materials Needed: Computer, projector, video
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will learn about lives of people who have disabilities.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Famous People with Disabilities” by Indiana Institute on Disabilities and Community. The Web site can be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb/fpwdinfo.html
  2. Watch Stella Young’s TED Talk by using the following URL: http://youtu.be/8K9Gg164Bsw. (You might want to share with the class that Ms. Young unexpectedly passed away on December 6, 2014)
  3. Review the video to make sure that it is appropriate to share with your high school students.
  4. Prepare a brief presentation about famous people with disabilities to deliver to high school students.

Step-By-Step Description:
  1. Have the students write down their impressions about people with disabilities.
  2. Teach students about famous people who have disabilities from “Famous People with Disabilities.”
  3. Show students the Ted Talk video.
  4. Have the students look at what they wrote down at the beginning of the class and discuss what they learned from the presentation and the videos.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Based on this video, how do you feel that people with disabilities are thought of by society?
  2. Did the video change how the students think about people with disabilities?
  3. Did you learn any new information about people with disabilities?
Authors: High School Work Group, adapted from Ted Talk and information from http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb/fpwdinfo.html
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Drama Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least eight (8) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom or auditorium (as a part of an assembly)
Materials Needed: Wheelchair, copies of the script
Time Needed: 60 Minutes
Goal: Students will have a better understanding of accommodations for people who use a wheelchair.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Public Accommodations and Public Facilities Title III” web page by using the following URL: http://www.ada.gov/ada_title_III.htm
  2. Prepare a brief presentation about public accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  3. Review the suggested script (attached) and determine if any revisions are needed.
  4. Optional: Give the students the script to the students prior to the class. The skit can be part of an assembly (faculty or students can perform the skit).

Step By Step Description:
  1. Teach the students about public accommodations under ADA.
  2. Select students for the roles for the skit and give them ten minutes to learn their parts.
  3. Have the students to perform the skit. If you are just now choosing the kids to perform than give them a few minutes for them to practice.
  4. Have the students/faculty perform the skit.
  5. Discuss the way that the characters handle the situation.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What do you think you would have done in this situation?
  2. Do you think the friends handled the situation correctly? Why or Why not?
  3. What did you think about the solution about moving the yoga class to another location?
Author: High School Workgroup, adapted from a script made by Annie Downing at the 2012 Virginia Youth Leadership Forum, Virginia Board for People with Disabilities
Frank – uses a wheel chair (Frank)
Bob (Frank’s friend)
Receptionist (Susan)- Not very nice (Note: Names can be changed)

Receptionist is sitting at a desk next to the elevator and stairs, Frank and Bob enter the gym
Frank- I ‘m so excited for yoga today
Bob- I’m so glad that you are able to participate with us today


Frank and Bob walk up to the elevator and there is a sign saying that the elevator is broken and will not be fixed for days…

Bob- What are we going to do? Yoga is on the second floor and this is the only elevator…
Frank- I don’t know! (He has a really upset look on his face)
Bob- Why don’t we ask the person at the desk over there?

They walk up to the receptionist who is on the phone with her friend and does not really want to help anyone…

Frank- Excuse me? I have signed up for a yoga class today and it is one the second floor but the elevator is broken.
Susan- Well I guess you are not going to make it to yoga today then.
Bob steps in- My friend has paid for this class and according to the American’s with Disabilities Act, he has a right to go and you are legally required to make accommodations for him to do so.
Susan- Well I guess I could call my supervisor (rolls eyes)
Frank- Yes, please do, I would very much like to speak to them.

Susan picks up the phone and calls her supervisor saying,
I have a person in a wheelchair here that wants to go to yoga, because I guess people in wheel chairs do yoga, but the elevator is broken so they can’t go upstairs.
She waits for a response, Fine.

Susan says to the kids sarcastically, I guess since you really have to do yoga today, we will move the class to the lower level.
Frank-Thank you so much!
Susan- Whatever…

The End
Author: High School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (History Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least four (4) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom and/or library
Materials Needed: Internet, research tools
Time Needed: Over three or four class periods
Goal: Students will become aware of different disabilities and the role of famous people with disabilities in history.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Famous People with Disabilities” by Indiana Institute on Disabilities and Community. The Web site can be accessed by using the following URL: http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/cedir/kidsweb/fpwdinfo.html
  2. Create a list of famous people who have disabilities that student can choose from the Web site.
  3. Determine how many class periods that this assignment will take and what type of report (e.g., written report and/or PowerPoint).

Step By Step Description:
  1. Introduce the class to the assignment by explaining that people with disabilities lead productive lives in their communities.
  2. Have each students pick one of the people from your list.
  3. Students will research the person and what they have accomplished and how the disability played a role in their life.
  4. Students will write a short report or create a power point on the person that they selected.
  5. Student will give a presentation to the class about the person they chose.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What famous person were you most surprised had a disability?
  2. Are there any people in your communities with disabilities that you know of?
In-class/Homework: Optional: report if not finished in class
Author: High School Work Group
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Physical Education Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least six (6) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom, Gymnasium
Materials Needed: Blindfolds, rope, objects to use as obstacles
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will experience vision loss and the use of other senses to compensate
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review “Blindness and Low Vision: Fact Sheet” by using the following URL: https://nfb.org/fact-sheet-blindness-and-low-vision
  2. Set up a large square on the floor with various non-breakable items laid out inside the square.
  3. Optional: Have someone who is blind participate in the class; they could talk to the class before the activity and participate in the discussion after the activity.

Step By Step Description:
  1. Instruct students to pair up and talk to each other to learn each other’s voices.
  2. Have one student in each pair put on a blind fold.
  3. One student from each pair will stand on one side of the square while the other student who is blindfolded will stand on the opposite side of the square.
  4. The students without blindfolds will try to direct their partners across the square without stepping on any of the obstacles in the square.
  5. Once the students have made it across, they will switch positions so that the other student will be blindfolded and cross the square while their partner guides them with their voice.
  6. After the activity is completed, the students will come together as a class and discuss what the experience was like for them and what they think it would be like to be blind.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What was the hardest part of communicating with your partner?
  2. What were some strategies that you used to try and get through the obstacle course?
  3. What do you think it would be like to be blind?
Author: High School Work Group, adapted from 2012 I’m Determined Youth Summit, James Madison University.
People Needed to Organize: One-Two (Art Teacher)
People Needed to Carry Out: At least three (3) students
Recommended Setting(s): Classroom/Outdoors
Materials Needed: Art Supplies, (brushes, paper, paint, tape) and cleaning supplies (peroxide, bleach wipes, rubbing alcohol)
Time Needed: 60 minutes
Goal: Students will increase their knowledge about how a person with a disability might use different body parts in different ways.
Teacher Preparation:
  1. Review the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Web site. You can access the web site by using the following URL: http://www.mfpausa.com/
  2. Allow 15 minutes to set up and explain how to do the activity, 20 minutes to do the activity, 10 minutes for discussion and 15 minutes for clean-up.
  3. Have paper taped to a surface for the students to paint on, and also have non-toxic paint and brushes for students to use (use new brushes or the handles will have been cleaned with peroxide).

Step By Step Description:
  1. Show students the video about The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists which can be accessed on YouTube by using the following URL: http://youtu.be/b37uP0OggNw
  2. Explain to the students that they will be creating an original painting. The paintings can be any style, but they must create their paintings without using their hands (e.g., using mouth, toes, elbows, or feet).
  3. After completing their paintings, students will share their creations with each other and discuss what they learned from the experience.

Reflection Questions:
  1. After this experience how do you think you can use your body parts in different ways for creating art but also in all aspects of life?
  2. What do you think it is like for someone who cannot use their hands for everyday tasks?
  3. How could you help an artist with a disability create a work of art?
  4. How could you help someone with a disability perform everyday tasks such as eating, drinking, school work, etc.?
Author: High School Work Group, adapted from MFAP: http://www.mfpausa.com/