CTE in Action

The Clare-Gladwin CTE Criminal Justice and Health Occupations programs got to get a feel for what it’s like to have dementia and Alzheimer’s, and how to help someone in those conditions. On December 12, 2018, Sandi Erickson and Jessica Heska from Compassus Hospice helped the students understand what Alzheimer's and dementia is by leading a hands-on activity, and allowed the students to explore an online website about learning issues relating to reading, writing, attention, math and organization.

The online function consisted of grade school students explaining what it’s like to learn having reading, writing, attention, math and organization issues. There was a video of a kid who described everything they had gone through. After viewing the video, there was a game simulator to have a better understanding of what it is like to have a learning issue and how to overcome these difficult learning abilities. For example, one game was a simulation of an organizational issue. In the game, there were shapes that would “fall out of the sky” and the computer would state what shape to collect. If the correct shape wasn’t collected, a noise would be signaled, causing the person playing to be caught off guard. Towards the end of the game, the speed picked up, and the shape collected would be changed, often causing major frustration to the players.

The hands-on action was used to simulate how it felt to complete everyday activities having dementia and Alzheimer’s. The activity consisted of a student that would wear thick gloves, black glasses, a flashing light and shoe inserts that had bumps in them; an observer would check off tasks as each task was complete. This activity helps the students know what it feels like to have these diseases and how difficult it is to complete everyday activities.

These activities are going to help Criminal Justice and Health Occupations later in life because they will help them know how to deal with people and what to look for if they’re dealing with someone in those conditions.

“This experience has bettered me for the future because I will know how to act towards people with those diseases,” said Criminal Justice student Shaylynn Beall, who was an observer when her partner when through the hands-on activity, and said she felt frustrated and irritated with her partner because when you see someone not being able to complete a simple task, you want to take over. Shaylynn also said she is glad she is informed on what dementia and Alzheimer’s are, as well as what to look for and how to help kids with learning issues when they’re too afraid to ask for the help they may need.