THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
FEBRUARY 05, 1999

Day aims to raise awareness of the disabled

Imagine what it's like being confined to a wheelchair, or being blind. How would you manage to get around campus? How would you handle such obstacles as heavy doors, stairs, steep ramps, and curbs?

On Wednesday, Feb. 10 you have an opportunity to find out at Disability Awareness Day, an information fair of displays, interactive games, prizes and food, taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the University Centre lobby.

Disability simulations are a popular feature of the annual event. Dr. Bram Goldwater (psychology) once taught a class while wearing a blindfold. "Not being able to see people made me feel less engaged or 'in contact' with them," he says, adding that the experience gave him some new insights. "I was able to experience the many subtle ways in which the visual environment controls our behaviour &emdash; often without our awareness &emdash; and how our subjective experience of the world is influenced by it."

And Linda Sproule-Jones, director of equity issues, spent the day in a wheelchair. "My first feeling was insecurity and my second, abandonment," she recalls. At one point, a crosswalk curb nearly knocked her out of the wheelchair. "There's a big difference between noticing that things don't look accessible and actually trying to live with those things," she says.

For more information on participating in a simulation, or on the day in general, call the Society of Students with a Disability at 472-4389 or e-mail Dee Remmelts at deerem@uvic.ca.


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