SEL Awardee

Amy Downard

State of Hawaii Department of Education, Honolulu District Visual Impairment Program
Honolulu, HI
“The Luckiest Classroom celebrates the rare event of interacting with a student who has significant vision loss. Since blindness is a low incidence disability, many people do not know what to do when they meet someone who is blind or visually impaired. They say things like, "Oh, it's over there", which gives no information of what and where to find something specific. Or they start talking, without introducing themselves so the person who is blind does not know who is talking. The best part of this sensory learning series is that it is led by students who are blind to promote a better understanding of non-visual skills to access our visual world. Awareness lessons are always important for others to learn how to use other sensory modes, gain insight on how to use braille, the white cane, promoting clear descriptions of visual information and so much more. Going on a 'sensory walk" where a blind student leads a blindfolded peer on a journey of discovering uneven ground textures, amplified sounds of cars, birds, classroom noises, echoes in small hallway spaces, and how to find an open door with the tapping of a cane are all inclusive awareness activities to provide long lasting and impactful experiences that build community. The Lucky Classroom will also support the school staff and service providers who need to adapt materials so that they are more accessible to the students who are blind and visually impaired in the classroom setting.”
Tags: District, Elementary School, Students with Disabilities, Traditional Public School, Urban