Wheelchair approachable


Five individuals entered the hall at St. Mary School in Williamstown with the hope that by the time they left, students would see them as individuals, and pay less attention to the wheelchairs they use.

Taking turns, they talked about their everyday lives and answered questions, sometimes with a laugh, amused at what students wanted to know.

The children, in grades 4-8, responded the way the presenters wanted them to – by asking polite but direct questions. The students were curious about a range of things, from their interest in sports, to the challenges of cooking, to the causes of cerebral palsy.

The visitors to St. Mary School on Feb. 14 included students, adult participants, and employees of the HollyDELL School in Sewell, a private, non-profit organization serving individuals from age 3 through adulthood with physical challenges, including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and developmental delays.

The school sponsors presentations to encourage people “to look beyond differences and appreciate the humanity in all of us,” said Dawn Gardner, a social worker who accompanied the group.

The St. Mary students were “extremely receptive” to the HollyDELL group, and they quickly became comfortable asking numerous questions after the presentation, said principal Patricia Mancuso.
To arrange a HollyDELL visit, contact Dawn Gardner, 856-307-2089.