Imagine not being able to see, hear, use your dominant hand, or speak. Each one of us experienced to a certain extent not having these capabilities for the length of today’s challenge. As we experienced this, we were also rotating and teaching one another first aid techniques.
Joey, Dave, Ben, Max, and I each taught one another a first aid technique. Before that we discussed ableism. I learned that ableism is discrimination against people with disabilities. It means that as a society, most of us consider the disability to be the person rather than recognizing that they are a person living with a disability. This was a great set up for our challenge. Just because I would become someone who could not hear, did not mean I was necessarily a deaf person. I became a person who could not hear. I believe that having a disability should not define a person completely.
While I could not see, I relied on Joey guiding me. He helped me put somebody in the recovery position.
When I could not speak, Dave showed me kindness by constantly asking me “yes” or “no” questions which enabled me to respond with nodding or shaking my head. Dave showed all of us CPR skills like compressions, mouth to mouth, and other emergency procedures.
Ben taught me about hypothermia when I did not have the use of my dominant hand.
Then I learned about alcohol poisoning from Max. I could not hear a word, so I relied on the visual presentation and Max checking on me with some thumbs-ups.
I was challenged because I not only experienced learning in a different way, but I experienced teaching in a different way. It was difficult trying to accommodate different learning needs while explaining how to treat 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns.
Not only did we learn first aid techniques, but we also learned about ableism. I came away with the idea that you can do whatever you put your mind to despite what society expects, or doesn’t expect of you.
“Your disability is your opportunity.” -Kurt Hahn