Welcome to Learning from Our Differences (“LFOD”)
for 2018 - 2019 school year!
What is Learning From Our Differences?
Learning From Our Differences (LFOD) is a PTA sponsored, parent-taught program that brings education about visual, hearing and intellectual or developmental impairments to grades K-5 through guest speakers and presentations as well as in-class parent-led programming. A specific impairment and focus for each grade guides the programming, and each grade explores a particular impairment.
The program typically runs from January to May. The dates are selected by the teachers and coordinated with the external speakers. In most grades, the program is comprised of a presentation by outside speakers and/or experts, an interactive discussion of themes and hands-on exercises. For Kindergarten only, the program includes an in-class parent workshop prior to the outside presentation to help introduce the children to new terminology and experience hands on exercises. Parent volunteers are afforded the unique opportunity to go into the classroom and teach. NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY. If you want to volunteer––all you need is your enthusiasm to learn and to teach!!
The LFOD program has a total of 6 lessons throughout the school year. Each grade has one presentation for the school year. Parent volunteers are only needed for the Kindergarten in-house workshops. Volunteers may also access training materials on this Learning From Our Differences website for the workshops that they are scheduled to teach. If, after reviewing the materials, you have additional questions, we would be happy to help you prepare as needed. As a parent volunteer, you will visit your child’s class and teach the material in an age appropriate manner. After you teach, you will help the children with an activity relating to the lesson.
Kindergarten Program Overview:
The program focuses on awareness of others, specifically to educate our children about differences in people’s abilities and to help them become compassionate, inclusive individuals. The program consists of two parts:
- Parent led in-class workshop, which helps the children understand what a disability is and what it means. The children are given a broad overview and are introduced to blindness, deafness and physical/motor impairment in age appropriate language coupled with interactive activities. Parent volunteers are needed. There is a live (remote can also be done) training session offered to parent volunteers. Depending on the size of the class, we recommend 3 parent volunteers per class.
- Outside Presentation: The presentation is led by the Westchester County Office for the Disabled. Usually, there are three speakers (person with a wheelchair, blind person with a guide dog) and a puppeteer. The kids watch a puppet show with puppets who have similar disabilities. No parent volunteers required.
Ask me what I learned today: LFOD Kindergarten lesson: Disabilities Overview
First Grade Program Focus: Visual Impairments (Blindness)
The program focuses on Visual impairment. This type of disability causes a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not mitigated by usual means, such as glasses. Many people with serious visual impairments can travel independently, using a wide range of tools and techniques. Orientation and mobility specialists are professionals who are specifically trained to teach people with visual impairments how to travel safely, confidently, and independently in the home and the community.
Tools such as the white cane with a red tip – the international symbol of blindness – may be used to improve mobility. A small number of people employ guide dogs to assist in mobility. These dogs are trained to navigate around various obstacles, and to indicate when it becomes necessary to go up or down a step. Blind people may use talking equipment such as thermometers, watches, clocks, scales, calculators, and compasses. People with a visual disability not only have to find ways to communicate effectively with the people around them, but their environment as well. The blind or visually impaired rely largely on their other senses such as hearing, touch, and smell in order to understand their surroundings. KIds are introduced to the Braille language as part of an interactive exercise.
No parent in-class workshop or volunteers required.
Ask me what I learned today: LFOD 1st Grade lesson: Visual Impairments
Second Grade Program Focus: Hearing Impairments
People are similar in many ways and different in others. When someone has hearing loss, also referred to as a hearing impairment, it means that their sense of hearing does not work like it should and they do not hear as well as others. Some people are born with a hearing impairment and others lose their hearing because of an illness, injury or old age.
The outside presentation is led by an Independent speaker. No parent in-class workshop or volunteers required.
Third Grade Program Focus: Intellectual Disabilities
People who have an intellectual disability learn things in different ways and in different amounts of time. It may be harder for them to learn to read or they may talk slowly. An intellectual or developmental disability just means that a person with that type of disability probably has to work harder to do things that might come easily to you. They may act and sound different than you but they deserve kindness and respect.
The outside presentation is led by the Special Olympics NY non-profit organization.
No parent in-class workshop or volunteers required.
Fourth Grade Program Focus: Physical Impairments
A physical disability is a limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina. Other physical disabilities include impairments which limit other facets of daily living, such as respiratory disorders, blindness, epilepsy and sleep disorders.
The outside presentation is led by an Independent speaker with a physical impairment. No parent in-class workshop or volunteers required.
Ask me what I learned today: LFOD 4th Grade lesson: Physical Impairments
Fifth Grade Program Focus: Learning Disabilities
The program focuses on awareness and creating opportunities for success for all students affected by learning disabilities.
Some people have disabilities that you can see right away. For example, some people use wheelchairs to help them get around. People with hearing problems might need to use a hearing aid. People who have trouble seeing might need to use a cane or a guide dog.
Some people have disabilities that you can’t see right away. Some kids have learning disabilities like dyslexia. People with dyslexia often have a hard time with words and reading. Another disability you can’t see is called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Kids with ADHD may have trouble staying focused. Autism is another example of a disability that you can’t see. Kids on the autism spectrum may have difficulty communicating and forming relationships with people.
Whether a kid has a disability you can see or not, remember that he is still just a kid! If you try talking to him/her, you’ll probably discover that you have a lot more in common that you thought.
The Outside Presentation is led by number of Scarsdale High School Students accompanied by staff members who discuss and share their personal experiences, struggles and accomplishments in an interactive setting. No parent in-class workshop or volunteers required.
Ask me what I learned today: LFOD 5th Grade lesson: Learning Disabilities
If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact one of the LFOD co-chairs: Sima Saran Ahuja (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ana Bluth (email@example.com) or Lilia Hess (firstname.lastname@example.org).