Because it is Saturday and I need to blog about this by Sunday evening, I am unable to plan a school visit. I do have lots of questions, however, about planning an event like this.
To begin, how does one design a visit so that students don't focus entirely on the disability, having the reaction of treating the person like a superhero or showing pity (as discouraged by this week's module)? I agree that students need to interact with people from all walks of life, in order to start building common experience with other people, but I am concerned that just bringing in a person with a disability would send the wrong message. Is it more appropriate to bring in a panel of people to discuss a particular topic, working to include people with many different perspectives? I wonder if this would introduce students to people with disabilities, but instead of focusing on the disability, would focus on his/her expertise? Is this working too hard to be PC that it ends up being a meaningless experience? I am just "writing" out loud here.
Also, I believe that we work very hard in public education to make modifications for students with disabilities that allow them to be as independent as possible. We also make modifications daily for students without disabilities by providing homework help, organizational assistance, and enrichment. I think that an important lesson for students is that everyone needs help sometimes. That people who have an identified disability may just need different types of assistance. How does one teach this to this students? And does this minimize the struggles that people with disabilities face? That also would not be my intention. Again, just writing out loud.