Kids Walking With KidWalk

Submitted by: The Arc of Palm Beach County

The Arc of Palm Beach County’s Potentials Charter School serves 32 children between the ages of three and ten who come to the school unable to walk or talk. The students who are enrolled in the school have disabilities that include dysgenesis of the corpus callosum, cerebral palsy, mitochondrial disorder, cephalosporins, trisome 7, herpes encephalitis, traumatic brain injury and vein galen malformation. The school is equipped to address their varied, extensive needs and strives to increase their level of independence while providing the stimulation and support they require. They receive a therapeutic education administered by specialized professionals that is designed to equip them with the tools necessary for their own highest level of success. In fact, the school adapts its program as appropriate to provide a state-of-the art intensive therapeutic education that recognizes each student’s abilities and builds upon them in order to help the students achieve their greatest possible level of independence.

Children graduate from Potentials based on their ability to transition into their local schools with age-appropriate peers; this may happen when they are ten years old, or it may take place much earlier, depending on the child. On graduation day, many of the students are able to walk to the podium to receive their diploma, and a significant number are able to communicate effectively. More than 70% of the school’s graduates have transitioned into a more inclusive educational setting.

One of the pieces of equipment most helpful for the students is the KidWalk, which enables them to move independently, develop neural and motor skills and learn spatial relationships. Because it is open in the front, students using the KidWalk are able to touch the things in front of them and around them very easily. The equipment also helps with improving balance and developing the ability to bear weight appropriately, which are essential to the ability to walk. While using this piece of equipment, students are able to move independently and practice their walking skills, thereby receiving therapy in a simple and positive that does not leave them frustrated or feeling like they are working. All of the students in Potentials Charter School enjoy using the KidWalk and benefit greatly from its availability in the school.

The children in Potentials Charter School all have similar goals and dreams: to be able to move independently and participate in the same kinds of activities other children do. The staff at the school – comprised of teachers and a cadre of therapists – works diligently to help these dreams come true, but they cannot do it alone. The ability to utilize assistive devices such as the KidWalk is a key part of the success experienced by the students. The existence of additional KidWalks will go a long way toward helping these children fulfill their physical potential and achieve a much higher level of independence.

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