A special program about tolerance, acceptance and understanding more about people with disabilities was presented at Lanigan Elementary School to students in Kindergarten and third grade classes recently. Joanne Kelly and Richard Busler, Public Education Specialists with the Central New York Developmental Services Office use puppets with disabilities to role play age-appropriate scenarios for the students to illustrate ways that students with disabilities are similar to students without disabilities. The puppets presented students with a non-judgmental atmosphere in which they could ask questions of the disabled children (puppets) that they might feel uncomfortable asking an individual with a disability. Pictured during the presentation are Busler, right, with puppet Mark who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair and Kelly with puppet Melanie who befriends Mark when she discovers they are more alike than different. Several puppets with a wide variety of disabilities including blindness, cerebral palsy, downs syndrome and learning differences interacted with students by sharing information about their disability and then answering questions from the students. The two different programs were geared toward their particular age group with Kindergarten students participating in a small group individual presentation called “Making Friends,” and the third grade presentation called “Kids’ Project,” which brought Kelly and Busler together in a more in depth presentation dealing with tolerance and acceptance. The program is coordinated by the Central New York Developmental Services Office and is presented at no charge to schools in the Central New York area. For more information, contact Richard Busler at 315-473-5059, or Joanne Kelly at 315-473-5056.