BYU rolls into Disability Awareness Week

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Students play wheelchair basketball during Disability Awareness Week at BYU. Disability Awareness Week offers workshops, speakers and student activities. Students who want to play "Murderball" can visit Room 136 RB Oct. 24 between 3 and 6 p.m. (GeriLynn Vorkink)
Students play wheelchair basketball during Disability Awareness Week at BYU. Disability Awareness Week offers workshops, speakers and student activities. Students who want to play “Murderball” can visit Room 136 RB Oct. 24 between 3 and 6 p.m. (GeriLynn Vorkink)

“Murderball” is a hardcore game of wheelchair rugby played by quadriplegic athletes, but all students will have the chance to play during Disability Awareness Week. The week begins at BYU on Oct. 20 and continues through Oct. 24. The week will offer workshops, speakers, movies and more.

This is the first year that Disability Awareness Week will be sponsored entirely by the University Accessibility Center. Students from Delta Alpha Pi, an International Honor Society for students with disabilities, are also heavily involved.

GeriLynn Vorkink, a licensed psychologist and coordinator at the University Accessibility Center, shed light on the new sponsorship.

“Given that our mission at the UAC is to provide students with disabilities equal access and to help them reach their full potential, we are looking forward to the opportunity to expand our role in DAW and bring to bear our experience working with students with disabilities,” she said.

James Dalgleish, a BYU student in Delta Alpha Pi, played a large role in the planning of the events.

“We have activities that help the accessibility community directly as well as activities that indirectly accomplish this end by helping others to be understanding of issues that may be difficult to comprehend, unless personally experienced,” he said.

The events planned are open to everyone. Vorkink encourages students with or without a disability to come.

“Students who attend DAW events will be uplifted and motivated by those who are dealing with disabilities. Even though one may not have a disability, everyone still has challenges and can learn a great deal from those who are struggling with disabilities,” Vorkink said.

  • Monday, Oct. 20, began with free confidential ADHD screenings for students at the University Accessibility Center. Students can find out whether or not they have the disorder. They can also learn about University Accessibility Center accommodations given to those with ADHD.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 21, will feature a disability student panel at 12 p.m. in Room 3228 of the Wilkinson Student Center (WSC). A panel of BYU students with disabilities will share their experiences and answer questions about living with chronic illness, mobility, emotional disorders and more.
  • On Wednesday, Oct. 22, students can hear from Corby Campbell, a BYU graduate with quadriplegia. He will speak at 12 p.m. in Room 3228 WSC. Corby is said to be a great example of finding happiness amid tribulation and will share how he makes the most of life despite many obstacles.
  • A Deaf Inclusion Workshop takes place Thursday at 11 a.m. at the same location in the Wilkinson Center. University of Utah Coordinator of Deaf Services/Disability Adviser Carol MacNicholl will address American Sign Language inclusion. MacNicholl, who is deaf, will also speak about deaf culture, privilege and becoming an ally to those with disabilities.
  • “Blindsight” will play Thursday night in the Varsity Theater at 6 p.m. “Blindsight,” an award-winning documentary about six blind Tibetan teenagers climbing the Himalayas, will have an audio description track for attendees who are blind.
  • Friday, Oct. 24, will consist of wheelchair basketball and “Murderball.” Students with or without disabilities can visit Room 136  of the Richards Building any time between 3 and 6 p.m. to participate in the games.

“I hope that participants come out of it understanding how it is to deal with every kind of disability and perhaps be more understanding and kind towards others because of it,” Dalgleish said. “Beyond being kind, I hope that some of the stereotypes are removed a little bit for those who attend — those with disabilities can be very productive and contributing members of society.”

Vorkink is also excited about the opportunity to help students obtain a greater appreciation for people with disabilities. The events meticulously planned by the University Accessibility Center and the Delta Alphi Pi community are sure to cultivate that special awareness and respect.

For more information on Disability Awareness Week, visit the UAC website uac.byu.edu/daw.

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