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Special Kids This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Hold a pen. Walk down some steps. Push a cart. You probably find yourself doing these things quite easily, often without even thinking. However, many people live with disabilities that limit these actions. I had the opportunity to help a physical therapiest with a few mentally and physically challenged special education students in a public school setting.

First, we worked with some older students, who were between 14 and 21. They basically did an aerobic-type work-out that included stretching and strengthening. They were incredible. They all talked about their friends and classes, and other high school things. I had about a five-minute conversation with one young man who told me about his job at McDonald's and his chorus class and asked me a few questions. He seemed like a very nice person. When he got up to leave the group, I realized he was a student, not a teacher. Overall, he is physically okay, but he is unable to read or write.

Next, we worked with three younger students. These children were three and four and had been in the program a year and a half, at most. The first boy we worked with was trying to learn how to get on and off a toy car, then how to push and pull it, and how to walk up and down stairs. His family or neighbors might want to give him a toy, which would be useless unless he knew how to play with it. For this reason, his therapist needs to teach him the basics, which would take him a long time to learn on his own. Something as simple as holding your arm away from you when you are pulling a cart was beyond his comprehension. He insisted on keeping his arm straight by his side, and he could not figure out why he kept tripping. Luckily for this little boy he will succeed, even if succeeding, in his mind, is running up a flight of stairs. fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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