April 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Easter Seals Offers Free Disability Awareness Curriculum

WEST LOS ANGELES� Elementary school educators, youth community groups and service clubs in Southern California now have a new free teaching tool to help young people learn about children and adults with disabilities. Easter Seals, the country�s leading non-profit provider of disability services, just launched an online version of its award-winning disability awareness curriculum, FRIENDS WHO CARE�.

�Easter Seals developed this resource for teachers and parents to educate children about their peers with disabilities and foster greater inclusion in our classrooms and on our playgrounds,� says Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, Ph.D., regional vice president for autism services, Easter Seals Southern California.

The goals of the program are simple: to encourage typically developing children to accept their peers with disabilities as people first and to find ways to include everyone in school and after-school activities. The interactive educational program takes children through day-to-day life as a young person with a disability thus giving students the opportunity to learn what is involved when someone has a disability and how kids with disabilities adapt to live life, go to school, make friends and play.

�When students gain a better appreciation of what it means to live with a disability, they are more accepting of their classmates with disabilities,� adds Pompa-Craven. �Our hope is that children quickly realize, �hey, I want kids with disabilities to be my friends, too�.�

The curriculum explores a range of disabilities and includes specially-crafted learning activities, hands-on exercises, guided discussions and guest guidelines. It starts with an introduction to disabilities, and looks at vision, hearing and physical disabilities and then at learning disabilities — including a new section on autism, ADHD and intellectual disabilities. Parents and teachers can access and download the free, FRIENDS WHO CARE� curriculum by going to www.easterseals.com/friendswhocare. The fun and colorful components can all be downloaded separately for use at home or in the classroom.

Easter Seals Southern California provides creative solutions that help thousands of people with disabilities to live and work independently. Learn more at www.SouthernCal.EasterSeals.com.

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