Ability Awareness Week

October 1-5, 2018

Dear DuFief ES Families,

The PTA is thrilled to be presenting DuFief’s 7th annual Ability Awareness Week,​ October 1-5!

This week-long program is designed to teach our students to focus on what people with disAbilities can do​, rather than what they cannot. The speakers and activities during this week are designed to spread awareness and share the message that everyone, despite differences and abilities, is valued and capable. Students will learn about different disAbilities and how it impacts people’s daily life.

The week will kick off with an exciting assembly by the Maryland Ravens Wheelchair Basketball Team. Students will cheer faculty and staff on as they play a game with the Ravens. Be sure to ask your student about it on Monday after school.

Throughout the week, each grade will welcome a guest speaker who represents a different disAbility:

● Kindergarten: Tina Campbell, is a volunteer service puppy raiser and dog trainer for Canine Companions for Independence; she is bringing her newest trainee: golden retriever London;

● 1st grade: Kimberly Jordan-Gaskins, paralyzed in a car accident, was Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2015 and works at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission;

● 2nd grade: Aaron Anderson, with ADHD, is CEO of his own businesses, including one that helps children with special needs learn to swim, bike ride, run and tie shoes;

● 3rd grade: Adrian Forsythe, with Down Syndrome, is the Advocacy Programs Specialist for the National Down Syndrome Society;

● 4th grade: Stephen Farias, who is hearing impaired, is the Coordinator of Teaching and Learning at Gallaudet University’s Kendall Demonstration Elementary School for the Deaf;

● 5th grade: Jake Edwards, with autism, is a motivational speaker and educator, and trains law enforcement on how to interact with people with disabilities.

Specials that week will also focus on ability awareness: P.E. will focus on blindness and show videos of paralympians; music will focus on deafness and show videos of blind musicians; and in art, students will draw with their non-dominant hand, and each student’s artwork will be added to a school-wide joint mural entitled “We Are Able.”

We encourage you to talk to your children about their own unique abilities and about the spirit of Ability Awareness Week. Please feel free to click on the links below for quick references on how to talk to your student about disAbilities. If you have any questions or wish to get involved, please contact us.


Alysa Hinshaw, Special Education Chair
Debora Brakarz, Volunteer Coordinator
Leilani Micallizzi, President

Suzanne Pape, Counselor
Sima Berman, Special Education Elementary Program Specialist
Brent Mascott, Principal

How to Talk to Your Child About Disabilities (Ages 5 to 8)
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