Students experience simulated disabilities as part of Disabilities Week



    Some BYU students have been experiencing what it’s like to walk around on crutches, use a wheelchair or wear an eye patch for Disability Awareness week on campus.

    All week long, BYU students have been encouraged to take the D.A.R.E. challenge, or Disability Awareness Recognition Experience. The experience challenges students to simulate having a disability for two hours and perform everyday tasks.

    However, some students are not as receptive to the D.A.R.E. challenge.

    “I think it’s a pretty idiotic idea because people using a wheelchair for an hour don’t realize how hard it is to do it for their whole life,” said Nicole Kent, a senior with muscular dystrophy, from Lake Isabella, Calif., majoring in English.

    “People don’t think about what it must be like for a person to get from their apartment to school everyday,” Kent said.

    Taking the D.A.R.E. challenge is a superficial way to create disability awareness, said Susan Teh, a junior from Singapore, majoring in film.

    “We are trying to promote how the ‘abled’ and disabled can coexist together, but when we focus on the physical handicap of a disability, it defeats the purpose,” Teh said. Members of the D.A.R.E. committee are attempting to make students more aware of disabilities.

    “We want to make people aware of disabilities and what it is really like to have a disability,” said Gwen Gardner, a freshman from Harrogat, England, with an open major. One student took the D.A.R.E. challenge by using crutches for two hours. The participant was asked to climb a flight of stairs, carry a book without a book bag and wait in a line.

    “It was a humbling experience, and I am glad I have two legs,” said Nyla Crandall, a freshman from San Jose, Calif., majoring in history.

    The D.A.R.E. project began on Jan. 10 and will continue until Jan 14.

    After taking the challenge, the participants watch a short informational video and get a free T-shirt.

    One D.A.R.E challenge booth is located on the west side of the terrace in the Wilkinson Student Center. Booths are also located in the Morris Center and Cannon Center.

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