Disabilities: Different on the Outside, the Same on the Inside

Dear Students,

I went to the AZ Science center with my kids last week. Some of the kids that were visiting the museum that day looked a little different on the outside to my boys.

Service Dog

A guide dog is working when he wears his vest or harness. When you see a guide dog, remember to look at the owner and say “I like your dog” or you can ask about the dog. That is friendly. How would it be if you leaned on the dog or played with the dog? That might make it hard for him to do his work. Remember that he is there to do a job.

Some of the kids had white canes. They were playing and enjoying the exhibits with their friends just like my boys. We saw some guide dogs too. I was proud of Max when he said “I like your dog” to the guide dog’s owner instead of petting the dog and ignoring the owner. Beautifully done Max!!

This little girl and this man both have artificial limbs. Just because their legs may be different from yours do you think they feel different on the inside? I think they are just like us. They are people too and are happy, sad, sensitive, brave and scared. Just like anyone.

Sometimes you see people that look funny. Maybe there features are not even and regular the way you expect. If you aren’t sure how to act, the best thing you can do is remember even if we have different bodies, we all have the same feelings. Our feelings always match. Look at the ways you are alike.

Before Bethany Frankel started surfing again, her friends helped and encouraged her. She remembered who she was and not what she wasn’t.

Sometimes when you let someone’s outside make you feel like staying away you miss out. Next time you see a guide dog, remember to look for their owner and say “I like your dog.” and that’s it. And if you see a friend at school that is a little bit different on the outside do the extra work and ask them to play with you.

This Kid’s Quest site has some primitive unimpressive checkbox quizzes on this topic for two seconds of fun. Surely there is something better online than this link. Digital Citizenship kids, think you can help me out?

People may look, sound, or do things differently, inside, we are all very much the same. That’s all you need to know!

The Wounded Warrior Project and NEADS are two of my favorite groups that help make life better for very deserving folks.

Pay it forward,
Mrs. Kenney

#ChallengeAccepted Matt is a tough guy. Good for him. Good for his friends.

Museum: Phoenix Children’s Museum

When we moved to the Valley of the Sun, I was a new mom with a 9 month old and a 3 year old. One of the best thing I did for my sanity was buy a membership to the fabulous Children’s Museum of Phoenix. In the 3 years since I moved here the membership doesn’t discount that much. They have a few times a year when it drops in price a bit. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, some car dealerships will offer free admission if you drop off canned goods. And on the First Friday of the month in 2012 the museum is free from 5PM to 9PM.

What can you expect from a visit to the Museum? Some of the exhibits are fixed, while others rotate.  In the atrium there is the magnificent 50 ton 37 foot Climber. Both my boys love it, and as a parent, I can position myself nearby and keep my eye on them both the whole time. The museum is 3 stories of fun, the building is a former school and the classrooms are now exhibit spaces. There is a model grocery store and restaurant perfect for playing pretend. Lots of beans and grains to sift, spices to sniff and packages to carry back and forth on conveyor belts and check outs. The ballroom is a favorite with my older boy, and served as the inspiration for a ball drop at our house (that he has played with like twice since we built it, but you know how that goes). My younger boy loves the Noodle Forest, the race car track/car wash area. You can put on a smock and get dirty painting or doing crafts.

My best tips for visiting the museum:

  • If you can, come around noon. The museum slows down at lunch as most people come in the morning and head home for nap time.
  • Holiday and break time are very busy…not really a tip as much as a fact
  • If you have two different age ranges (toddler and preschool) you will want two adults as the kids will pull you in different directions
  • The museum closes periodically to change exhibits so check the website and verify they are open before you come down. I’ve pulled in on a Monday or in the Fall to discover it was closed.
  • The race track/car area is hazardous for toddlers as they will stick their faces and hands near the track and can get hurt. Best to avoid that area until they outgrow that stage.
  • This museum is accessible and wheelchair friendly 🙂

I’m Impressed Fact: the Museum has a great policy for adults unaccompanied by children, they band adults and have great systems in place for monitoring and ensuring child safety. How do I know this? They have clipboards hanging on the wall with emergency plans and policies and I read it because I read everything I can find. There are loads of helpers in lime green shirts stationed everywhere to engage your child in play and keep everything peaceful. I love their focus on play and safety. A very special place! The gift shop has a great selection of unusual toys. A gift certificate to the museum makes a great gift.

AzTAP Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities conducted an accessibility evaluation in August 2008 and summarized, “the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is the most exceptionally disability-aware arts institution this evaluator has ever surveyed.”

I haven’t ever done more than visit the museum and go straight home. Is there a family friendly restaurant you like or another attraction that you recommend to extend this outing?

Atrium of Children's Museum