A number of stations were set up in Middle Gate Elementary School’s gymnasium on Monday, May 19, for the school’s Differences Day.
The day has been held at the school before to highlight differences people may have from one another. The event has been an annual one at the school, typically hosted by the school’s RRD Club (Responsibility, Respect, Diversity).
This year fourth grade students at the school made their way through the stations set up for Differences Day in two sessions.
At one station students navigated through cones while wearing a blindfold and using a cane before attempting to write their names on a wall to sense what it would be like not to see. At another station students tested their fine motor skills by attempting to do certain tasks while using their nondominant hand. Another station had students try to use a wheel chair to again navigate between cones. At an allergy station students had food allergies explained to them and learned about EpiPens, an auto-injector used to treat anaphylaxis.
On the room’s stage, behind a curtain, Carl DeStefanis, a paraprofessional at Soundbridge Academy in Wethersfield, offered a lesson for students on hearing loss.
Mr DeStefanis said he was a student at Soundbridge when he was younger. After going on to earn his master’s in education of the deaf degree, Mr DeStefanis returned to Soundbridge to teach. He also teachers a summer program for the academy, according to his bio.
“I’m hoping to give them a taste of what it is really like to have hearing loss,” Mr DeStefanis said before speaking with students.
Mr DeStefanis spoke to Middle Gate’s students during Differences Day about how much effort it takes for someone with hearing loss to listen, what hearing loss means, and showed them different types of hearing aids.
Under Mr DeStefanis’s guidance, students also took an “unfair hearing test” to demonstrate how tiring trying to listen can be for someone with hearing loss.