Explore [dis]ability

EXPLORE is the is the Co-op’s interactive traveling exhibit that promotes disability and inclusion awareness in schools.

Through hands-on activities and guided discussions, EXPLORE assists school communities in positively “re-imaging” how children with disabilities are perceived. EXPLORE is a structured way for schools to begin empowering their youngest students with disabilities to advocate for themselves. EXPLORE can also be presented to parents, helping to engage families in discussions about disability.

Framework alignment

  • High Quality Instruction
  • Parent Engagement
  • Student Empowerment

Why EXPLORE? As reported by the Journal of School Psychology (June 2012), students with visible disabilities are almost 3x more likely to be bullied. The stigma of their disability, or lack of understanding, may also cause their peers to isolate them from activities.

The story doesn’t end there – children with “invisible” disabilities (i.e. learning or behavioral disabilities) are more likely to exhibit antisocial behavior and have disciplinary problems, and could engage in bullying behavior as “revenge” on being victimized.

The goal of the inclusion model is for children with disabilities to become full participants in the school who are “welcomed and embraced.” To achieve this goal, students (with and without disabilities), parents, and educators need to be exposed to the range of disabilities in the student population, and develop an understanding of the challenges (or lack thereof) that students with disabilities experience. Teachers must model acceptance of diversity and demonstrate pro-social relationships with all students to reduce the culture of shame around disabilities.

Through EXPLORE (dis)ABILITY™ we can increase understanding of students’ differences, promote new social interactions between students, and ultimately create a more positive and safe school community.

EXPLORE Program activities:

  • Traveling exhibit presented on-site at school request
  • Explore materials and exhibit guide available to borrow for school use