Cameron hosts disability awareness forum

Cameron hosts disability awareness forum

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Students came together Wednesday at Cameron University for a disability awareness event to try and understand the lives of students who face those challenges every day.

Students got the chance to go through several hands-on learning activities and meet with groups who provide services for those who are disabled. Organizers of the event say more than 50-percent of disabled people in Oklahoma go untreated, and they hope this event taught students how easy and important is it to receive the help you need.

There were several different activities, ranging from having to write your name while focusing on other activities, like making counterclockwise circles with your foot, to trying to read lips to simulate the difficulties that can come from being deaf.

Students filed in for the event, anxious to get a better understanding of what life with a disability is all about.

"Not everyone is going to be like everyone else," Cameron sophomore Karrigan Kinzer said. "People learn differently, people act differently, and we have to know how to respond and how to take action towards those things."

Cameron freshman Nichelle Lehman has autism and said she has seen first-hand in her life that many people do not understand that everyone is different. She said she is encouraged that people were willing to come out to the event today and hopefully receive more information.

"It makes me feel happy that people actually consider," Lehman said. "Don't tease or judge others who have a disability and get to know them, get to know the person."

Director of Student Development at Cameron Jennifer Pruchnicki said she is happy people came to the event to learn how to better understand others, but said they may also need to use that information later on in life.

"We live in a world where it's not if we become disabled, it's when," Pruchnicki said. "All of us at some point are going to need to have some services, we're going to age, sometimes we get injured and it's a temporary disability. So they need to understand what resources are available to them."

Pruchnicki said through the several times this event has been held, she has seen an overwhelmingly positive response from attending students.

"It's been wow, I didn't realize it might be more of a challenge for some of those who are taking classes," Pruchnicki said. "Like my classmate who is in class with me, I didn't realize they are facing challenges that I don't. It's hard when I get stressed about an exam or preparing for a class, but somebody who might have a reading disability, they're having to work extra hard."