From the outside, the lives of people with special needs can seem very different. Considering that even adults sometimes struggle with sensitivity and understanding, the lesson can be made more difficult for children. To help Bluffton Elementary School fourth-graders learn the similarities between themselves and people who appear different, Louise Matthews created a new series of programs called “What It’s Like to Be Me.” This monthly program, sponsored by the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University, invites speakers to show children that looking different doesn’t mean being different.
Through the program, schoolchildren have been exposed to ability awareness, letting the students understand that those living with a disability or a handicap do not want to be treated differently. The children learn that everyone deserves patience and tolerance, expanding upon the lesson of not judging a book by its cover. By building empathy and understanding for those who seem different, the students will be able to better relate and have compassion – not sympathy – for anyone that they might meet in the future.
“What It’s Like to Be Me” is offered only for Bluffton Elementary School, but The Lion & Lamb Peace Center offers programming, activities and education promoting the study of peace, justice and understanding for students and parents.
The Center is located at Bluffton University, on the lower level of Riley Court.
1 University Drive – 50, Bluffton. 419-358-3207. bluffton.edu/lionlamb.