By Donna Carpenter, Peggy Sinclair-Morris, Kim Zeigler, Nancy Nichols, Jasamyn Nichols DeGrant
Governor Beshear reminds Kentuckians daily that “We will get through this. We will get through this together.” He, along with other leaders, recommend social distancing, staying healthy at home, and practicing good mental health, such as taking daily walks outside. These words struck a chord with us. How can we unite students and their families, when we are all practicing social distancing and staying healthy at home? With non-traditional instruction (NTI), screen time is at an all-time high. This alone can be isolating and fatiguing. But these mandates are adding to the isolation that often affects students with sensory loss. What can we do?
The Kentucky DeafBlind Project is sponsoring the Virtual KY DeafBlind Derby Dash. Let's celebrate together and run, walk, crawl, hike, use the treadmill, wheelchair, or jump the KY DeafBlind Derby Dash! We want to see children, young adults, and adults who are deafblind join in with their families, friends, and teachers to complete either our 1K or 5K. This is a virtual race that can be completed over a full week or in one day. The race will be held during the week of May 24-30 with fun events happening the week before on the KY DeafBlind Project FB page (event page). Cross the finish line wearing your race bib and snap some photos. Collect your race medal or certificate we make during the activities week events. Learn some new race signs! Let's share our stories! #KYDBDerbyDash
- Do I need to be deafblind to participate? No, the Derby Dash is open to everyone. Anyone can participate and we encourage participation of family and friends. We want everyone moving with us.
- Do I need to live in KY to participate? You do not need to live in Kentucky to participate. That is the beauty of a virtual race; you can complete it wherever you are.
- Is there a cost? The race is free. There is no charge for participation in the virtual race.
- Is there an age limit? There is no age limit.
- How can I participate if I’m not a runner? Participants can run or walk the race. They can also use wheelchairs, strollers, white canes, sighted guide, and/or gait trainers. We want everyone to be included and participate in their preferred mode of mobility.
- Where do I register? Registration is online at https://runsignup.com/Race/KY/Lexington/KYDeafBlindDerbyDash
- When do I complete the race? The race is open from May 24th to May 30th. You may complete the race in one session or you can break it up over time. Choose a way that works best for you.
Chris Montgomery from TSBVI DeafBlind Outreach has created a video about the Kentucky DeafBlind Derby Dash.
Our friends Patti and Hunter McGowan shared this video in preparation for this race! Hunter is a graduate student who has a combined vision and hearing loss, and he will be joining the race with his guide dog Atlas.
Brothers Finn and Liam tell us more about the Kentucky Deafblind Derby Dash in the videos below.
Ideas for Making the Race Unique for Your Family
- Complete the race as a family walk.
- Divide into teams or partner with a sibling.
- Make it a relay race and pass a baton at different intervals. Make the baton using bright colors. Add rice or beans to add weight and sound.
- Set up an obstacle course. Have things to move over, under, around, and through. Be creative. Use boxes to crawl through or zig zag through a maze of buckets. Use ropes on the ground to move over it to change the “shape” of the lanes. Go up and down hills and ramps. Go around trees, fountains, flower beds, fire pits etc.
We have taken it a step further and added literacy, arts and crafts, and other activities for families to do together. The KDBP will be posting ideas and activities for incorporating literacy throughout the week preceding the race. Follow the Kentucky Deaf Blind Project on Facebook and Paths to Literacy to stay connected!