Jacksonville and area residents can further their understand of various disabilities at tomorrow’s FAN fair.
Tomorrow’s FAN, of Functional & Access Needs Fair, is the first such event put on by the Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living, of JACIL. As the home of the Illinois School for the Deaf as well as the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, Jacksonville is an ideal city for an event such as this, which is geared towards increasing the community’s knowledge and understanding of disabilities and those who live with them.
JACIL Executive Director Becky McGinnis explains that the key aspect to tomorrow’s event is that it is interactive rather than informational.
“It is not an informational fair, it is an interactive fair, and out of that (interaction) you get your information on how to interact with people (with disabilities). You don’t go to an event like this and know what having these disabilities is like, but it starts to atune you a little bit more to what you need to know, what somebody else might be experiencing, or what it might be like to live in their world,” explains McGinnis.
McGinnis says visitors at tomorrow’s FAN fair have opportunities to use special equipment designed to simulate what it’s like to live with certain disabilities.
“There will be a booth that uses various vision disability simulation goggles, and the deaf community is going to have simulations that help people understand what having hearing loss is really all about. Students at ISD are building us an obstacle course for mobility, there will be wheelchairs and various surfaces that you have to go over. It’s when you use one of those mobility devices that you realize how big those thresholds between rooms are, how troublesome a rough surface can be, or how hard it is to open up certain doors unless they’re set up for people with disabilities.
Aside from working closely with both ISD and ISVI, McKinney says a number of law enforcement and other agencies are collaborating with JACIL for the fair.
Tomorrow’s Functional & Access Needs Fair takes place at the Pathway building in Jacksonville starting at 2 p.m. Any questions regarding the FAN fair can be directed to the JACIL office in Jacksonville at 217-245-8371.