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About the Differing Abilities Program

Spaulding’s Differing Abilities: Disability Awareness Program is a program for students in grades 4-8 designed to foster a greater understanding of people with disabilities. Teaching students about disability issues helps to instill empathy for their peers with disabilities. Students learn how they can be more inclusive of their peers with disabilities and how an accessible environment gives people with disabilities an opportunity to participate.

The school-based portion of the program is an integrative curriculum that utilizes historical non-fiction literature to introduce students to a person who has a disability. Small group activities, led by Spaulding clinicians, give the students experience in understanding some of the challenges someone with a disability may have. A polio survivor visits with the students to give them a historical perspective on what it was like to have a disability in the 1950’s and how it is different today- and what still needs to be improved.

This site is a tool teachers can use to teach disability awareness in the classroom for students in grades 4-8. The website is designed to be used in a group setting and can also be used by students for independent study. Students learn what a disability is and what their school environment needs to be accessible. They also learn disability etiquette so they will be more comfortable interacting with someone with a disability. People with disabilities share their stories through video clips and teach students that we are all more alike than different.


For more information or to set up a Differing Abilities program in your school, contact:

Laura Kelly