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Walker Elementary Hopes Awareness Day Event Will Help Children Understand Each Other Better

Walker Elementary students will have a unique learning opportunity this Friday during the school's first-ever SAGE Awareness Day event.

SAGE stands for Special and Gifted Education, and the school's PTA organized the Awareness Day to help children understand each other better.

"Awareness Day will feature interactive experiences to help children understand what it is like to have dyslexia, autism, ADHD, sensory overload and what is like to be deaf. For example, they'll see what it's like to navigate a wheelchair," said Kathryn Lewis, Walker PTA President.

"We hope the kids will learn that friends with differences have the same needs as everyone else, but have a different way to see and do things, and different ways of learning," said Rockell Benson, chairperson for the event who also leads the PTA's efforts for SAGE students.

"Personally, Awareness Day means a lot to me because I am a mom of an autistic son with ADHD and sensory overload. I also have a daughter with dyslexia. I think that knowledge is power and teaching kids about others and the challenges other people face will help kids become more selfless. I have seen kids around my son and daughter. They do not understand them and do not know how to handle their differences. I believe that there needs to be more acceptance among our children/teens and in return greater self-esteem will grow in each individual as they feel loved for who they really are," Benson said. "This type of event can help us forget about stereotypes and labels. It can help us know how to talk to people we might consider 'different.' Above all, we want the kids to recognize the value in ALL people."

Walker is the first McKinney school to host a SAGE Awareness Day event, and organizers hope they can share the concept with other schools in the district.

"SAGE Awareness Day will enhance self-esteem and promote acceptance, understanding and friendship," Lewis said. "It's a very special day for our Walker community."

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014