If you’re part of the rare disease community, then you probably are not a stranger to explaining your condition to others. But think about it. Has this ever been difficult for you? Tedious? Even frustrating? Well, a new program offered by Sarepta Therapeutics may change the game. According to a July 15 press release, Sarepta launched a competitive program called “Rare Lessons” designed to implement rare disease education in classrooms.
Sarepta’s goal with Rare Lessons is not only to create educational resources to build rare disease awareness in schools, but to find ways to apply those resources. In doing so, children receive a more inclusive education and change the thought process on rare diseases and treatment.
Any American-based educators teaching at an accredited educational institution may apply. Additionally, educators must be teaching students between kindergarten and 12th grade. Unfortunately, the Rare Lessons program is not open to college professors.
According to Sarepta’s Dr. Diane Berry, PhD, educators represent the unique ability to blend creativity and research into approachable forms. Currently, many teachers develop lesson plans or other materials or resources to present information to students. Thus, teachers can find ways to imbue knowledge of rare diseases from a young age.
Submitting an Application
Currently, the Rare Lessons program is accepting submissions until September 15, 2020. Lesson plan submissions should include:
- Information on rare diseases and disabilities
- Ways to introduce rare disease knowledge to children
- How to share scientific research in an age and grade-appropriate manner
- Ideas on applying this knowledge in a real-world setting
- Knowledge on diversity and inclusion
Up to 4 winners will be chosen. In addition to having their lesson plans shared on sharemylesson.com, both winners and their associated educational institutions will receive $2500. Around 50% of patients with rare diseases are children, according to Berry. As a result, this competition, and its result, will ultimately serve:
“to increase understanding of rare disease, promote more diversity and inclusion in the classroom and broader community, and ultimately alleviate feelings of isolation.”
Want to learn more about Sarepta, the biotechnology company sponsoring this competition? See their website for more.