Student Counselling unit shines a spotlight on living with disabilities as it welcomes International Disability Month

An able seeing student finding her way, blindfolded

Mangosuthu University of Technology welcomed International Disability Month – 3 November to 3 December 2022 – by hosting games to raise awareness of disabilities on its Anniversary Lane on 31 October 2022.

Lindiwe Chamane, a Student Counsellor in the Student Counselling unit, said they aimed to create a better understanding of different types of disabilities, and “as peers, how to support those who are living with unchangeable conditions. Playing the disability-related games allowed the students to have an experience of using the assistive devices that are used by students with disability daily on campus,” said Chamane.

She emphasised  that awareness contributes to reducing misconceptions, stereotypes and stigmatisation: “These attitudes lead to negative perceptions and attitudes”..

 

The central message of the event was to make abled individuals feel what is like to live with some form of disability. This is the reason the abled individuals used the assistive devices that are used by individuals with disabilities. They used wheelchairs, and canes to feel their way while blindfolded.

Chamane said the types of disabilities that students are living with at the University included visual impairment, which is partially sightedness; partially deafness; several forms of limb deformity, some of which are hand/leg amputation, extra and or missing hand fingers, club feet, and growth of extra bones. There are also students with mobility issues as a result of hip dislocation, bone disease and spinal cord dysfunction. Some students also have psychological and learning disabilities.