Senior student Chris Crawford is the founder of Culver City High School’s Invisible Disability Club. But he’s anything but invisible. In fact, he’s become somewhat of a CCUSD celebrity after he unveiled a special flag he designed (pictured at right) to represent disabilities of all kinds – physical, educational and intellectual.
“This flag and symbolism are important to me as a new way to represent people with disabilities and recognize that not all people with disabilities have mobility issues or even visible disabilities,” said Chris. “The background color is the national shade of blue adopted for disabilities. The two horizontal white stripes represent an equal sign and also are a nod to the tracks of a wheelchair, which is the current symbol for disability access. The infinity sign symbolizes both inclusion and the wide diversity of disabilities and people with disabilities. Additionally, it emphasizes equity in the inclusion of all people with the goal that there is no one way to be normal.”
In celebration of October as Disability Awareness Month, Chris’s flag will be flown in multiple classrooms around CCUSD. For the first time, CCUSD will also hold individual events and projects at each school site thanks to the support of the District Special Education Committee and the PTA Special Ed committees at each school site.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Disability Awareness Month as it highlights the work we are doing to provide an inclusive education every day, for every student, in every classroom throughout CCUSD,” said CCUSD Director of Special Education Diana Fannon. “We have been fortunate to work closely with the Special Needs PTAs from each school site and the Special Needs District Advisory Committee to a shared vision for the future of CCUSD’s students with disabilities and are incredibly optimistic about what lies ahead.”
The Theatre by the Blind production, free to all CCUSD families, will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 6 at Robert Frost Auditorium. Plans at each school are too numerous to list, but here are some highlights from each campus. Be sure to check with individual school sites for more information.
At El Rincon, there are displays of major contributors to our society that have some form of disability. On October 16, Michael Garafola, co-founder of Angel City Games, will present to the students. Angel City Games offers sports programming for kids, adults and veterans with physical disabilities or visual impairments.
The focus of El Marino’s Red Ribbon Week, in conjunction with Disability Awareness Month, is Healthy Minds/Healthy Bodies and kindness/inclusion. A committee is working on getting a sensory path installed.
Farragut’s theme for the month is Everyone is Differently Abled. The school community is excited to celebrate this dimension of diversity, learning about the history and experiences of people with a wide range of abilities and promoting positive attitudes and creating a culture of mutual respect, understanding, and equal opportunities for all.
La Ballona is highlighting different role models with various disabilities in the school’s display case every week, complemented by special readings in the classroom. Infinite Flow, the wheelchair dance company, will present an assembly in early November.
Linwood E. Howe’s theme is Recognize the Possibilities. Principal Eva Carpenter will teach the Pledge of Allegiance in American Sign Language at morning assembly. Lucy Meyer, an ambassador for Special Olympics and UNICEF, will speak to the fourth and fifth graders on October 21. She travels the world talking to children, dignitaries and world leaders about the importance of inclusion.
On Wednesday, October 16 at 7 p.m., Culver City Middle School will host USC student-athlete Jake Olson, who is blind. All CCUSD students and families are invited to hear his compelling story of academic and athletic success against all odds. More information on this event below.
And at Culver City High School, in addition to Chris’ flag, the library will feature books on heroes with disabilities as well as a host of other activities with the students.
By the way, Chris is not afraid to shed light on his invisible disability. “I have autism,” he said. “But it doesn’t have me. I live with autism.”