Harpenden pupils discover what it means to be disabled

PUPILS at a Harpenden primary school gained first-hand experience of the daily challenges faced by those living with a disability recently when they took part in a programme developed by a local teaching assistant.

The Lea Primary School and Nursery, in Moorland Road, held a “walk in their shoes” week, to raise awareness of what it is like to live with a disability.

Head teacher Sharon Swinson said the event was a huge success, with children trying on special glasses to replicate visual disabilities including macular degeneration where people have impaired vision in the central area of their visual field.

Some pupils recognised the condition as their grandparents suffered from it.

Reception pupils learned about being wheelchair-bound with some trying to manoeuvre one around the classroom.

Students also had facial disfigurations painted on their faces, including birthmarks and moles, to show them what it was like to have something on their faces that they did not choose and could not wash off.

The entire programme was developed by the school’s teaching assistant, Donna Gillians.

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Representatives of a range of different charities including Herts Society for the Blind, Herts Hearing Advisory Service, Changing Faces, British Red Cross and Mencap visited the school as part of the week’s events to share insights with pupils.