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Wadewitz Elementary School students and staff participated in “Don’t (Dis)abilities Spirit Week.” The school-week-long event began on Monday, April 4, to kick off Autism Awareness month as well as to promote general awareness about disabilities.

A Racine Unified School District spokesperson said this week is “ultimately an effort to teach students to empathize with their peers.” Throughout the week, Wadewitz students participated in several activities and experiences.

“The ultimate form of empathy is to try to be able to see and understand and, kind of, walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes.”

Lee Waechter, Principal, Wadewitz Elementary

Officially, World Autism Day is recognized on April 2. However, students at Wadewitz wore blue on April 4 to show their support of Autism awareness. The color blue is known as one of the disability’s awareness colors.

On Tuesday, students participated in “Be Unique Day” as a way to celebrate everyone’s differences. Children were encouraged to wear an outfit to school that was unique to them.

Wednesday was “Sensory Day.” Wadewitz students in all grade levels engaged in various experiences to learn more about specific disabilities. They completed different projects, used special equipment and learned what it means to be in someone else’s shoes. Students even had the opportunity to use tools and devices that fellow classmates may use for fine and gross motor modification, vision accommodations and language communication.

Wadewitz Elementary in Action

“Inside Out Day” took place on Thursday, giving students an opportunity to learn about sensory differences. “Some students don’t like the way their clothes feel on their skin and prefer to wear them inside out,” said the spokesperson. Therefore, all individuals at school were encouraged to wear their clothes inside out.

The final day of Don’t (Dis)abilities Spirit Week is Rainbow Day. Each grade level has been assigned a different color to wear. Together, all grade levels will be a rainbow.

“This week, including the events Wednesday, are so important because these experiences can really encourage students to empathize with their peers,” said the spokesperson, “and the staff at Wadewitz really want to make sure their students have an understanding of what it can be like to live with a disability.”

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