Disability exhibit demands tolerance

UVM hosted a traveling exhibit called “Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit” from Oct. 3-7 as a part of Disability Awareness Month. Throughout October, events will celebrate Disability Awareness Month. The Ability Exhibit that took place was hosted by the UVM Program Board (UPB). The Ability Exhibit debuted on Saint Louis University’s campus in October 2010, according to Saint Louis University’s website. The exhibit travels around the country in attempt to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities through respect for others, comfort during interactions and awareness of disability issues, according to the website. The exhibit was slow to attract people when it first came to campus on, with only about 35 people visiting on the first day, junior and UPB member Crystal Guzman said. Guzman said that after a slow first day the exhibit started to attract more people and that not long after it opened on Wednesday morning there were already about 25 visitors. “The exhibit is there to teach others that those with disabilities are more than just a person with a disability,” Guzman said. Everything in the exhibit is interactive and is there to communicate with people about disabilities, Guzman said. The exhibit consists of various stations designed to increase knowledge and test awareness. One of these interactive elements of the exhibit is a station about “universal design.” This station showed examples of universal design and how it makes everyday aspects of life easier for people with disabilities. Aspects of universal design include curb cuts as well as elevators with auditory and visual signals and Braille. There is also universal instructional design. Examples of this include using PowerPoint Presentations with large fonts and contrasting colors as well as teachers sending welcoming emails and learning all of the students names to make them feel more comfortable. Another exhibit station had jars with marbles to the side of each jar. Above each was a sign representing a different type of disability. Visitors to this station were encouraged to place a marble in the jar if they know someone with that type of disability. Also part of the exhibit was a row of computers with various interactive videos and quizzes. There was a “celebrities with disabilities” computer quiz, a video on universal instructional design, an Americans with Disabilities Act video and a disability facts computer quiz. The exhibit uses a multi-media approach to demonstrate respect, comfort and awareness. It also offers suggestions for becoming disability allies and educators, according to their website.