Karen Parsegian approaches a class of fourth-graders at Bannon Creek Elementary School with her white cane outstretched. Blind since 2002, she asks 10-year-old Christopher Hall if she can feel what he looks like and touches his puffy black hair. Its curly like mine, she exclaims and everyone laughs. Helping kids look past a disability and find common ground is the goal of A Touch of Understanding, a local nonprofit bringing disability awareness to 6,000 area school kids each year. Speakers like Parsegian share insights of the challenges associated with their disabilities while students get first-hand experience of what its like to be disabled. They do activities like listening to a recording of how a person with autism may hear the world, driving around in wheelchairs, writing in Braille and using mobility canes. I help kids see with a whole new set of eyes, says Parsegian. I get them to see with their hearts.
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