UCSC graduate student alumna Rupa Dhillon designed an innovative game for blind and sighted players, named Rock Vibe, which uses digital vibratory technology to enhance gameplay for those who are visually impaired.
Across campus, students aim to educate and raise disability awareness. Through awareness, students seek greater accessibility and further inclusion into campus life.
Judith Serrano can’t escape the voices — she is haunted by the cupped-hand whispers and blatant stares that follow her like silhouettes as she walks down supermarket aisles and through shopping malls, holding her daughter’s hand.
As she sits under the deep blue of a cloudless May sky, she speaks solemnly when describing the way people act toward her mentally disabled daughter. “People look at my daughter differently when we take her shopping and they whisper to each other,” Serrano said. “Sometimes I get mad and I say, ‘Shut up, stop talking about my daughter.’”
Serrano’s daughter, Wendy, is a 19-year-old Special Olympics track and field athlete with mental retardation. She is one of 13,000 Special Olympic athletes in Northern California and one of 49 million Americans with a disability, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is also one of many special-needs persons who has fallen victim to human ignorance and found comfort and confidence in participating with Special Olympics of Northern California.