Seeing life through the eyes of others

Andrew Marsman said he felt humbled after experiencing life from a disabled person’s perspective Tuesday night in the Bovee University Center’s Lake Michigan Room.

The Grandville senior, along with several other Central Michigan University students, took part in the David Garcia Project, which is designed to create an awareness of disabilities and the people who have them.

“It just humbled me to realize the ability to walk, write with my hands and read, I just take these for granted,” Marsman said.

Detroit senior Heather Caldwell served as the lead coordinator for Tuesday night’s David Garcia Project and put students through four disability simulations – auditory, learning, physical and visual disabilities.

Students taking part in the hearing loss simulation were required to write down a message, told to them by Caldwell, while wearing a pair of 30-decibel hearing aids.

They also played a game of “Simon Says,” again wearing the hearing aids.

The learning disabilities simulation required students to read a story, which was distorted to give the reader an impression of what it is like to have dyslexia.

Caldwell then asked the students to summarize the story, but several were not able to comprehend what they’d read.

During the physical disabilities simulation, students had to tie their shoes, button up their shirts and put a diaper on a stuffed animal while wearing a pair of gloves with popsicle sticks in the fingers.

This simulation allowed students to realize how a person with cerebral palsy deals with everyday situations.

Gaylord junior Jeanette Sayre-Montgomery said this simulation was the most difficult.

“I’m always late, so it made me realize how much harder it actually would be to get ready (with a disability),” Sayre-Montgomery said. “It was like an eye-opener.”

The physical disabilities simulation also required students to paint a picture by placing the paint brush in their mouths, not their hands.

The final stage consisted of a visual disabilities simulation.

During this stage, students attempted to read flash cards while wearing glasses covered up with black tape, not allowing students to see clearly.

Students also walked around the hallways with blindfolds, while their partners tried to guide them.

Caldwell said she was pleased with the nearly 20 students who attended the project Tuesday night.

“They’ll be able to react if they were to come across someone with a disability and be able to help them,” Caldwell said.


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