Day 2: Understanding Disabilities

  • Rush-Henrietta not only understands the significance of disabilities, but also the importance of understanding disabilities and supporting those who have them. We believe in acknowledging student strengths - focusing on abilities and what our students can do. 

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities." The Utah State University's Center for Persons with Disabilities estimates that roughly 49 million Americans - more than one in five - are living with a disability.

    Within public education, there are 13 special education classifications. These include Learning Disability, Other Health Impairment, Autism, Emotional Disturbance, Speech or Language Impairment, Visual Impairment, Deafness, Hearing Impairment, Deaf-Blindness, Orthopedic Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Multiple Disabilities.

    Today's academic experts stress the importance of practicing and promoting disability etiquette within all education settings. They also encourage us to provide all necessary classroom accommodations for students with disabilities. 

    The vast majority of these 13 classifications is represented among Rush-Henrietta’s student population. Regardless of their specific status, every student with a disability is entitled to the same level of inclusion, course participation, and respect as their peers. Rush-Henrietta strives each day to make this a reality for our students and their families.

    Did You Know?

    Rush-Henrietta provides special education services to more than 700 students each school year.

    Resources for Learning

    Option 1: Watch People with Disabilities Can Succeed (1:00)

    Option 2: Watch How You See Me: Disability (3:00)

    Option 3: Read Getting Started With Person-First Language

    Consider These Ways to Reflect, Grow, and Take Action

    Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection:

    • How can you be more mindful of using person-first language at school, at work, or in your personal life? For example, saying a “person with a disability” rather than a “disabled person.”
    • Is there a child, family member, or friend in your life with a disability? In what ways can you support them by being more inclusive? 
    • How might your own personal biases or assumptions regarding students with disabilities impact the ways that you view students exhibiting challenging behaviors?

    Ways to Get Involved:

    • Watch for opportunities for parent engagement regarding special education programs and services.
    • Check out this link to learn more about the TIES (Together Including Every Student) program and ways to get involved.


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