Abilities First: Rowan to mark Disability Awareness Week

Abilities First: Rowan to mark Disability Awareness Week

The focus will be on ability—rather than disability—as Rowan University’s Academic Success Center and Disability Resources mark Disability Awareness Week from Oct. 15-18.

The focus will be on ability—rather than disability—as Rowan University’s Academic Success Center and Disability Resources mark Disability Awareness Week from Oct. 15-18.

Promoting the theme “Abilities First,” the week will include everything from film screenings and wheelchair dancing to panel discussions, a book signing, an adaptive sports day, and the Try On A Disability/Resource Fair.

“The common thread that runs through the week is that having a disability doesn’t limit anyone in their abilities to excel areas such as art, athletics, dance, writing, work or academics,” says John Woodruff, director of Rowan’s Academic Resource Center and Disability Resources.

Here’s a day-by-day look at Disability Awareness Week:

Monday, Oct. 15

Disability Awareness Week kicks off with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. in the Pit of the Chamberlain Student Center as the annual Dedicated Faculty Member and Dedicated Professional awards are presented to individuals who provide outstanding support to students with disabilities.

Joan G. Finch, an assistant professor of Language, Literacy and Special Education in the College of Education, will receive the Dedicated Faculty Member Award. Finch serves as director of the Assessment and Learning Center.

Professional staff members in Rowan’s Office of the Registrar, Bonnie Dube and Steve Kessel, will receive the Dedicated Professional Award. Dube serves as scheduling coordinator in the office, while Kessel is assistant to the registrar. The Registrar’s Office, led by registrar Muriel Frierson, will receive a special honor “in recognition of the outstanding customer service the office provides to students with disabilities,” Woodruff says.

From 1:30-3 p.m., the popular wheelchair ballroom dancing exhibition will be held in the Exercise Room in the Rec Center. Able-bodied students will have the opportunity to attempt wheelchair dancing alongside seasoned wheelchair dancers.

 The day ends with a screening of “James Castle: Portrait of An Artist,” a film that is part of the “Raise the Curtain Movie Series,” at 3:15 p.m. in Boyd Recital Hall, Wilson Hall. The screening will include conversations with filmmaker Jeffrey Wolf and associate producer Molly Dougherty.

The film highlights the work of a profoundly deaf self-taught artist whose works were created almost exclusively with “found” materials.

Tuesday, Oct. 16

Disability and Culture: A presentation and Panel Discussion on Disability, Diversity and Culture, featuring Woodruff and J.T. Mills of Rowan’s Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs, will be presented at 11 a.m. in Room 221 of the Chamberlain Student Center. The event will explore how people of different cultures view disability.

From 2-4 p.m., author Luis C. Montalvan, author of Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, will present a lecture and book signing in the Eynon Ballroom of the Chamberlain Student Center.

The New York Times bestselling book tells the story of how Tuesday, a service dog, helped Montalvan, an Army captain who served multiple tours in Iraq, recover from post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury.

Until Tuesday is a book about man and dog, war and healing, ability and disability. But, perhaps more than anything, it’s about spiritual restoration,” Montalvan says of the book.

Wednesday, Oct. 17

Bob Bullard of Rowan’s Career Management Center will present a session on job recruiting for individuals with disabilities (10 a.m., Room 221, Chamberlain Student Center). From 12:15-1:30 p.m. (Dewey Lounge, Robinson Hall), Deb Martin, coordinator of the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching, will lead a faculty discussion with students with disabilities.

The day will end with Adaptive Sports Day (3-6 p.m., intramural fields) as faculty and students in the Department of Health & Exercise Science and representatives from the Rowan Rec Center demonstrate ways in which sports can be adapted to include people with disabilities.

Thursday, Oct. 18

Able-bodied students will learn what it’s like to have visual or physical challenges during the Try on a Disability/Resource Fair (11 a.m.-3 p.m., Savitz Hall Atrium). Students will participate in visual challenges can even attempt to negotiate campus in a wheelchair during the day.

For information on Disability Awareness Week events, visit www.rowan.edu/studentlife/asc.