It Takes A Village To Build Stuff For Special Needs Kids

If there’s one thing special needs parents know for sure, it’s that raising our children is a group effort. Our kids wouldn’t thrive without the joint efforts of teachers, therapists and doctors, along with our own tireless efforts. I call my son’s coalition Team Max. And sometimes? It takes help from people beyond our inner circle. This week alone, I read about two such incredible efforts.

Over in Fullterton, California, a team of  30 volunteers toiled all summer long at Commonwealth Elementary School to create a sensory garden for children with special needs. It includes a pebble pit area for tactile experiences, raised-bed gardens for easy accessibility and plenty of hands-on opportunities for discovery. Students will read garden-themed books such as Growing Vegetable Soup to supplement the lessons they learn in the great outdoors. As sensory-garden designer and teacher Sue Pettnicchio said, “I really believe our kids can learn anything other kids can learn, it’s just finding the right way to teach them.”

Danny Cope, also in California, has cerebral palsy; this young man has long dreamed of going hiking with his family. And then, the Liberal Arts and Science Academy Robotics team in Austin, Texas volunteered to build a high-powered, super-strong wheelchair that could power over rocky surfaces (what they called a “tank of a wheelchair.”). Local businesses donated materials and services. FedEx shipped it free of charge.

Danny’s brother posted a video on YouTube of Danny getting his chair and giving it a test run. Watch it and I’m sure you’ll feel, a I did, a rush of gratitude for the kindness of community.

Image of school garden via Shutterstock; image of wheelchair, video screen grab

Add a Comment
Back To To The Max