Disability awareness may be more important than you think

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Disability awareness may be more than you think

If you work with disabled adults or children have you thought about the seemingly “normal” situations that we give them to deal with? Often, we may not be aware that simple things such as the height of the table can make it impossible to wheel up close enough to the table to enjoy a meal. Or even serving condiments in hard-to-open packages can be frustrating tasks for someone who suffers from a stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.

The following is a list of ideas for an employee training to help people become more aware of disabilities and difficulties in doing some routine activities. Set up activity stations. Have two people at each station and allow each person about 10 minutes to do the activities. When completed, you may all want to discuss what you experienced.


1. Put on glasses which have been smeared with vaseline.

2. Take a lined index card from a covered container and a pencil. On the lined side of the index card, write your name on the top line, skip two lines and write your phone number, and then four lines from the bottom write your address.

3. Open a package of crackers, spread it with peanut butter and eat it.

4. Repeat steps one through three with your partner.


1. Put on a pair of gloves which are one size larger than you would normally wear.

2. Pick up a zipper plastic bag and open it, remove one napkin.

3. Pick up coins.

4. Open an individual package of jelly, ketchup or crackers.

5. Repeat steps one through four with your partner.


1. Sit in the wheelchair

2. Push yourself around the room and through an open door.

3. Push yourself up to the table and pour a glass of water.

4. Repeat steps one through three with your partner.


1. Tie a triangular bandage around the dominant arm to restrict the use of that arm and hand.

2. Open a bag and remove a napkin.

3. Place a raw potato on the cutting board and make a one-half inch slice.

4. With a spoon, feed yourself some canned applesauce that has been dished on a plate.

Adapted from: Hospital Food Service Management , March 1994.

Updated August 22, 2017 7:09pm