As part of their course work, Nyack College’s MSE Special Education Program students from EDG 534 / Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Low Incidence Disabilities course visited the Abilities Expo in Edison, New Jersey on May 20, 2011. There, they were able to participate in workshops and visit exhibitors displaying cutting-edge technology for people with disabilities. The Expo, a forum for advocates, families and individuals with disabilities enabled the Nyack Graduate students to develop a greater understanding of products and services that remove barriers for individuals with disabilities. The students learned about evidence-based therapies for increasing motor functioning for students with physical disabilities. At a second workshop, they learned about how systematic travel planning can increase opportunities for individuals with limited mobility. As a result of their attendance to this event, students gained a greater sense of their role in providing opportunities for ensuring full inclusion of all individuals in their classroom communities.
One student shared her experience by stating the following:
“I kept thinking while I watched children in wheelchairs and in their walkers that, as an educator, I want to be a part of changing students’ lives. It was actually a moment in my life that I knew that although it would be an extremely hard job, I wanted to be a part of it; I wanted to make a difference. In seeing so many people at the event I finally felt like these children and individuals do have a voice and they have many options to help them live a better life, no matter their disability.” Natalia Gaviria