How is an exercise on building towers with their feet helping disabled students recognize their strengths? This was just one of the activities that brought students with intellectual, cognitive and learning disabilities in the University of Iowa REACH program together with teaching students at the university
What can students learn buy building tall towers using just their feet?
The tower-building activity called on participants to compete by building the tallest tower possible using only their feet as building blocks. It took place during an event at the University of Iowa Fieldhouse that also included activities such as a hula-hoop-passing game. The event brought together teaching students and first-year college students in the UI REACH program.
UI REACH is a two-year transition certificate program for students from throughout the nation with intellectual, cognitive and learning disabilities.
University of Iowa College of Education officials annually organize events such as Friday’s that typically take place at the High Adventure Challenge Course. Officials relocated this year’s activity due to rain.
Jay Gorsh, a doctoral student in special education who facilitated the event, said this was the first year officials required the activity during orientation for all first-year UI REACH students. He said UI REACH officials noticed benefits the event brought to previous participants and wanted to expand its reach.
“They wanted all of their students to be involved in it,” he said.
Bianca Kanis of Pella was among 24 UI REACH students who participated in Friday’s activities. She said she learned leadership skills and gained courage to step outside her comfort zone in social situations.
“It stretches you,” she said.
Kanis, who is new to the university campus, said lessons from the activities will help her adjust to campus life and that her initial experiences through REACH have brought out new aspects of her character.