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Special Education Director's Blog

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I Have Seen Joy!

I had my 10-year-old nephew last week—all week! There is a reason women my age are not able to have children; we are not able to keep up with young children! Anyway, in my quest for entertainment I came across the new iFly experience. It is basically a vertical tube with hurricane force winds shooting up from the floor. When you hold your body horizontal you actually fly!  Perfect for a fearless 10-year-old!  And it was. He had a ball and even talked Aunt GG into additional visits. I am a sucker Aunt!


I know you want to know, “Ginger, did you fly?” What do you think? Absolutely NOT! I figured that by the time they turned up the wind high enough to get me off the ground it was likely to blow my hair off.  Two minutes of pleasure is not worth bald!


Anyway, this background information is just setting the stage for my real story. On our second visit to the flying venue I saw a family come in that caught my eye. The parents walked in with several children, one of whom was a teenager in a wheelchair. This handsome young man appeared to have CP. It was obvious that the family had been there before. They went right to the work of getting ready. As the mom put on the young man’s flying suit and helmet, he could not take his eyes off the flying tube. He could not wait to be in there!


Though we were finished and walking out, I had to stay and experience this. We sat down and waited. Finally, it was his turn. His mom rolled his chair to the door of the tube and the instructor reached down and pulled this young man into the tube. Immediately, his body rises, his arms and legs stretch out—and he looks like everyone else! I look at his face and I see the most amazing look of pure joy that I have ever seen! For one precious minute he is not burdened by unresponsive limbs! He is free! 


That smile brought tears to my eyes. How often do our kids with disabilities get to step outside of their disability? What can we do to make it happen? 


In this same train of thought here is a video about one parent’s desire to have her child with special needs experience dance. The NYC ballet created something truly special as a result. Check it out:

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