SAAS Sophomores Discuss Disability Awareness

SAAS Sophomores Discuss Disability Awareness

By Sydney Lennard ‘24

Last Friday, sophomores Isabel Siebrecht and Alexis Norwitz came to the 6th grade history room to present to us about disability awareness. Both are members of Students Spreading Disability Awareness (SSDA) at SAAS. When we got into the room the first thing that Isabel said was, “I have dyslexia.” Then she told us about how that affected her self-esteem in elementary school. She said that she felt ashamed and like there was something wrong with her, but then she said, “until I saw this presentation.” Isabel said that the presentation made her feel like she wasn’t alone, and she was just a normal person, which she always was. Isabel and Alexis wanted to show this presentation so others don’t have to feel the same way that Isabel did.

Dyslexia wasn’t the only disability Isabel and Alexis talked about. They talked about disabilities that you’re born with and disabilities that you might get later in your life. One thing that was very fascinating happened when they showed us a photo of a man in a wheelchair crossing the street. Asked to describe what we saw, lots of people said, “wheelchair” and “disabled.” When Isabel and Alexis showed the next photo, all we could see was the head and neck of an elderly man. When asked to describe that picture, people used words like “smart” and “leader.” When the girls revealed that it was world-famous violinist Itzhak Perlman and that he has used crutches, walkers, and scooters since the age of four, we were surprised. That shows, though, that just because someone is in a wheelchair or has some sort of disability it doesn’t mean that the person isn’t normal.

Above: The Students Spreading Disability Awareness club.
Below: Isabel Siebrecht ’20 (left) and Alexis Norwitz ’20 (right)