Disability Awareness and Education Program for Schools & Organizations
More Alike Than Different is a hands-on, interactive awareness, education, sensitivity, and anti-bullying training program. Provided to typical, non-disabled peers and students in elementary and middle school, its goal is to help foster understanding of the unique needs and similarities of individuals with disabilities and special needs. In this way, it can create new friendships and learning experiences for all children, encourage children to be more sensitive and accepting, and reduce the risk of harassment, bullying, and isolation of children who appear to be different.
At a More Alike Than Different presentation, a trained facilitator will assist typically developing children in participating in a variety of hands-on activities and game that depict what individuals with a disability might experience on a day-to-day basis. These activities include:
- Tower of London – Experience a form of visual impairment
- What’s All the Confusion? – Experience life with ADHD or autism
- Mirror – Writing with one type of learning disability
- Trying So Hard – Experience daily activities with a simulated physical impairment
A guided group discussion, followed by a question and answer time, accompanies each activity. Afterwards, each child receives a certification of completion for participating, and each school that participates receives a set of reading and educational books on a variety of disabilities and special needs to place in the school library.
The Family Network on Disabilities presents More Alike Than Different with the support of the Manatee County School District Exceptional Student Education Department and funding through Manatee County Children’s Services Advisory Board. The program was developed by parents of children with disabilities and special needs. For the 2014-2015 More Alike Than Different served over 9,500 students in Manatee County schools.
Stand Up to Bullying – Bullying is one of the most serious and pervasive challenges facing our schools. Surveys indicate that children view bullying as the worst experience of childhood, other than losing a loved one. Victims of bullying may experience anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and in some cases even suicidal thoughts. Coming in October of 2016 to Manatee County children and students ages 3rd – 12th grade will address this issue through the power of education and advocacy.
2011-2012 ESE Director, Manatee County
From a teacher at Bayshore Elementary: “As a mom of children with special needs I feel that programs like this are critical in providing a safe learning opportunity for ALL students.”