The Yes, I Can IP is an interest project from the Girl Scout Council of Orange County.
There are people with disabilities in every country, from all races, in all age groups, and from all walks of life. You probably have seen people with a disability, know a school mate with a disability, or have friends or relatives with a disability.
This Interest Project is designed to help you expand your knowledge of other people, to decrease any anxiety you may have toward people with disabilities, and increase your understanding of the person and their special needs.
Maybe you have already had the opportunity to work with children and adults with disabilities or you may be interested in pursuing a career in this area. Whatever your reasons, this interest project will educate you to become more aware of yourself and others.
- What is a disability?
- One of the most important things to do as you begin this project is to agree to terminology. What is a disability? Identify ten (10) different types of disabilities. Correctly name and define each. Pick three (3) of them and find out the causes. Can anything be done to prevent or reduce the disability. If so, what? What type of schooling and/or treatment is available for people with these disabilities?
- Community Resource Awareness
- There are many different organizations, institutions, schools, and facilities which serve people with disabilities all over the United States. Where can people with disabilities get services in your community? Find at least five of the organizations and facilities which serve people with disabilities in your community.
- What services do they provide? Whom do they serve? Do they give financial aid? If not, who pays? Do they offer support, i.e., emotional, financial, spiritual, for the family? Do they help with vocational training and job placement? What type, i.e., federal, state, local, day, resident, etc. of school, hospital, clinic or a referral agencies are they?
- Finding Out More
- Many organizations have people who will come talk to groups about their organization and it’s service. Or, they may inform you about the type of people they work with. Invite a resource person from a local organization that assists parents of children with disabilities to your troop meeting. Be prepared with pertinent questions regarding the organization and the type(s) of disabilities for which they offer assistance. What can members of your troop do to assist this agency?
- Arrange for a tour at a local agency that serves the disabled. Do they also have a film you can see? What services do they offer? What type of volunteer work is available for girls your age?
- All About Bumps and Dots
- People with visual impairments can’t see. Therefore, they can’t learn...right? Wrong! People who have a visual impairment can learn to do most things sighted people can do. They can do things a little differently! They listen to what’s happening and use sense of touch much like we use our sight. Find out how people with visual impairments can learn to read.
- What is Braille? Who discovered Braille? Research the Braille alphabet. Learn to write your name in Braille. Find out if there are Braille markers in your city for elevators, crosswalks, restrooms, etc.
- Visit an organization that provides services to/for the blind and visually impaired. What kind of services do they offer? What is the proper way to lead a person with a visual impairment? Demonstrate this to your troop or a group of younger Girl Scouts.
- Talking With Your Hands
- Some people who cannot hear and/or have severe problems talking learn to communicate using sign language. What is sign language? Learn the alphabet. Practice finger spelling and recognizing (when someone else finger spells) at least 20 common words.
- Learn more about the following:
- The difference between American Sign Language (SL), Signed English, and Signing Exact English (SEE).
- The signs to a short song or saying.
- The signs for the following words: eat, drink, play, toilet, stop, please, slow, thank you, good,
- Can people from different countries communicate using ASL, SEE, or Signed English?
- Being Disabled
- What does it feel like to be disabled? Let’s find out! Adopt a disability and live with it for 16 hours (sleep doesn’t count). Keep a diary of your experiences, how you felt, the difficulties you experienced and other peoples reactions to you. Go to a public place part of the time with a friend or adult. Have them note others’ reactions. Evaluate your feelings before and after the experience.
- How Accessible Is Your Neighborhood?
- Sometimes it is very difficult for a person with physical disabilities to get into and move within a store. Find out about access problems in your community. Can people with physical disabilities go shopping, try on clothing, visit local recreation sites without being hampered by stairs, sand, or narrow aisles? Find out about what transportation is available for people with physical or visual disabilities. What does your city or county offer? Keep a journal of your findings. Follow up with an activity to improve accessibility: develop a way to improve access either with the aid of other Girl Scouts or by presenting a detailed plan to a local city council.
- Can “They” Work Too?
- Many people with disabilities are able to work and support themselves. Others may need a sheltered workshop or special training. Wherever they work, people with disabilities often encounter problems getting their job.
- What problems does a person with a disability encounter when seeking employment? Research which of these occur during interviews, from co-worker pressure, with career advancement. Interview an employer, a vocational therapist, and at least one person with a disability to gain their perspectives. Investigate how modern technology is changing the work environment for people with disabilities. Write a report on your findings and present it to your troop or use role-play and have your patrol or troop act out some possible situations.
Do your service after you have completed all the other requirements.
- Working with people with disabilities can be a fun challenge. Learn about children with disabilities. Assist the leader of a troop that has members with disabilities. Help her plan, prepare for, and carry out the activity. Plan and carry out a play day or cookout for children with disabilities. Decide how each of the children can help prepare the meal(s). Include games/activities in which ALL can participate. Plan at least one active and one passive activity. After the event discuss any problems and how they were resolved with your patrol/troop and/or consultant. How could the event have been improved? What were the highlights?
- Volunteer to work directly with people with disabilities for at least 15 hours. Talk to the staff person in charge of the program about the different disabilities and/or behaviors of the clients. Contact local recreation programs, Girl Scout programs, or school district programs.
- The Future... Work You Can Do
- There are many different careers which involve contact with people with disabilities. Discover ten (10) different careers working with people with disabilities (no more than three (3) of these can be different types of special education teaching positions). Pick two (2) of these and find out: the education and training necessary, approximately how long it takes to complete the training, what people in the field actually do and where they can work. Talk to someone who works in the careers you are investigating. Shadow them for a day if it is allowed.
- Anaheim Therapeutic Recreation: Recreation program for children with disabilities. (714) 821-6510
- The Blind Children’s Learning Center (714) 573-8875
- Braille Institute: Services for the visually impaired (714) 821-5000
- Dayle McIntosh Center for the Disabled (714) 772-8285
- Providence Speech and Hearing Center (714) 639-4990
- Rehabilitation Institute of Southern California: Variety of services. (714) 633-7400
- Regional Center of Orange County: Variety of services, community resource room. (714) 973-1999
- Team Advocates for Special Kids (TASK): Gives information to parents and groups. (714) 533-8275
- United Cerebral Palsy Association