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published on 08/26/2008

10th Annual "Kids Like You, Kids Like Me"


Exhibit Opens Oct. 11
At Creative Discovery Museum

"Kids Like You, Kids Like Me" offers children and their parents the chance to experience a day in the life of a child with a disability. Kids Like You, Kids Like Me is a partnership between Siskin Children's Institute and Creative Discovery Museum. The program is sponsored by Unum.

Now in its tenth year, Kids Like You, Kids Like Me is designed to break down barriers and raise awareness about disabilities. Despite the serious and potentially intimidating nature of the topic, the exhibit helps children learn about disabilities in a fun, non-threatening and interactive environment.

"Allowing kids to experience what it's like to have a disability takes away some of the mystery. It shows them that children with and without disabilities are much more alike than they are different. The message is that kids with disabilities do what other kids do -- including having fun -- they just do it a little differently," said Jayne Griffin, Director of Education at Creative Discovery Museum.

In addition to the exhibit itself, which was created by Museum staff members, the Museum presents a variety of special activities for children during Hamilton County Schools Fall Break Oct. 13-17 and a special traveling exhibit of artwork created by children with disabilities.

Kids Like You, Kids Like Me Exhibit, Oct. 11-Nov. 11 -- Interactive exhibits feature equipment that simulates various disabilities as well as assistive devices that help people with disabilities perform activities of daily life. Hands-on simulations duplicate school and home settings, including a playground, classroom, bedroom and kitchen. Visitors can play basketball in a wheelchair, master a computer without the use of their hands, ascend a climbing wall without the use of their arms, and order a favorite meal without speaking.

Kickoff Festival, Oct. 13, noon-4 p.m. -- Museum visitors can experience therapeutic recreation equipment from Chattanooga Parks & Recreation, service dogs from Paws with a Cause, a specially adapted wheelchair for sidewalk chalk drawing, wheelchair volleyball, and more.

Orange Grove Chorus, Oct. 16, 1 p.m. -- The Orange Grove Chorus will sing Broadway and gospel songs for Museum visitors.

A View from My Window, through Jan. 4, 2009 -- This exhibition features children’s art by K-12 students with disabilities from all 50 states and several foreign countries. Visitors experience what these young artists see and imagine, from the landscape outside to an illustration of their emotions. The exhibition is produced by VSA arts, an international, nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where all people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.

"It's hard to believe we've been presenting Kids Like You, Kids Like Me for 10 years," said Griffin. During that time, more than 15,000 children and adults have come through the exhibit in school tours alone, with more seeing it through general admission to the Museum. "I think Chattanooga is making progress in disability awareness, and I would like to think that this exhibit has been a part of that change," she said.

"The biggest 'aha moment' that everybody has is when they realize there are so many things they can do, even with the simulated disability," said Griffin. "They can work a puzzle or make art when they're blind. They can work a computer using their head instead of their hands. They can climb without the use of their arms."

"The change needs to start with kids," she added. "They are very open to approaching people who are different from them in a way that goes beyond the differences"

From Sept. 1 through Nov. 30, the Museum will be open Monday through Saturday (except Wednesday) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed on Wednesdays. Tickets are $8.95 for children and adults. Creative Discovery Museum is located at 321 Chestnut Street in downtown Chattanooga.

For information on Kids Like You, Kids Like Me, call or visit . The Kids Like You, Kids Like Me exhibit gallery is fully accessible. Creative Discovery Museum offers two-hour school tours free of charge to classes in grades K-5.

For information on training opportunities and disability resources, contact Siskin Children’s Institute by calling or visiting . Located in downtown Chattanooga, Siskin Children’s Institute is a leader in serving children with special needs, their families and the professionals who touch their lives through education, health care, research and outreach.

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