NAU marks Disability Awareness Month

disability awareness

Conversations and strategies for increasing inclusion will take place on Northern Arizona University’s Flagstaff campus during Disability Awareness Month.

October’s lineup of activities includes a wheelchair basketball exhibition, scavenger hunt, panel discussion and a film screening.

Matthew Wangeman, disability studies instructor, spearheaded this year’s events and will be a co-host for an open discussion, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask” with John McDermott, project associate with the Institute for Human Development.

“At NAU we are trying to highlight that disability is a natural part of life and is not a tragedy,” Wangeman said. “In fact, the diversity that disability brings to the world is a good thing and should be celebrated.”

Wangeman said people with disabilities represent the largest minority group in the world, and they want to have the same access to the same opportunities as anyone else in order to reach their full potential.

The theme “Diversity Matters, All Year Long” was selected by Wangeman to highlight that “we, as a community, need to see disability as part of the diversity that enhances the community and that diversity needs to celebrated all year long.”

This year’s events, free and open to the public, are:

Phoenix Suns and Mercury wheelchair basketball exhibition
Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11
Health and Learning Center
Come watch the exhibition and then give it a try. Demo chairs will be available for use.

Accessibility Scavenger Hunt
3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17
Louie statute outside the University Union
Join NAU4ALL to explore the campus together and recognize access issues.

A Conversation about Disability: Everything you Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask
6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22
University Union
Presenters Wangeman and McDermott will host a conversation on disability.

Panel Discussion: Contemporary Social and Media Representations
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23
Health and Learning Center
Presented by the NAU Speech and Debate team and offering an informative panel discussion on media representation, education access and exploration of viable forms of inclusion for all people.

Film Screening: Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement
7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27
Prochnow Auditorium
Screening of the film will be followed by a discussion with director Regan Brashear.

Student advisory boards NAU 4 All and TASH@NAU, Student Activities Council, the Commission on Disability Access and Design, the Institute for Human Development, the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity and the Office of the President organized the event.