Capes help Vernon Hills students learn empathy for those with disabilities

 
 
Updated 3/15/2019 5:22 PM
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  • Cape-wearing first-graders Samantha Bernard, left, and Keira Boldischar put on a skit Friday as part of Cape-Abilities Over Disabilities Week program at Hawthorn Elementary South in Vernon Hills.

      Cape-wearing first-graders Samantha Bernard, left, and Keira Boldischar put on a skit Friday as part of Cape-Abilities Over Disabilities Week program at Hawthorn Elementary South in Vernon Hills. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Kikeon Kim, 7, plays wheelchair basketball in gym class Friday as Hawthorn Elementary South celebrated Cape-Abilities Over Disabilities Week in Vernon Hills.

      Kikeon Kim, 7, plays wheelchair basketball in gym class Friday as Hawthorn Elementary South celebrated Cape-Abilities Over Disabilities Week in Vernon Hills. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Hawthorn Elementary South first-graders wear capes they made as to celebrate Cape-Abilities Over Disabilities Week in Vernon Hills.

      Hawthorn Elementary South first-graders wear capes they made as to celebrate Cape-Abilities Over Disabilities Week in Vernon Hills. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Every student at Hawthorn Elementary South wore special capes they made to celebrate Cape-Abilities Over Disabilities Week in Vernon Hills.

The program teaches kids to embrace learning differences, organizers said.

"I think the biggest reason we did Cape-Abilities Week is to have kids step in other kids' shoes. I think it's taught the kids a lot of empathy," special education teacher Jackie Schwartz said Friday.

Schwartz and occupational therapist Brittany McEllen spearheaded the weeklong event.

Each day, students engaged in various activities and events, ranging from walking in someone else's shoes to reflections and the opportunity to play adaptive sports.

The students made their capes in art class and wore them all week in their classes.

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