When Rosario immigrated from Mexico in second grade, she spoke little English and had no adaptive equipment to help her navigate her environment. She’s come a long way.
Rosario began weekly sessions with Sally McAchran, an SSD teacher for students with orthopedic impairments, at Ritenour’s Iveland Elementary. Rosario’s cerebral palsy affects her ability to utilize traditional school tools. A Student Environment Tools and Task (SETT) meeting was held to determine what assistive technology would increase her written expression, and an SSD tablet with adaptive software was implemented. She was able to get appropriate orthotics regularly, a reverse rolling walker, and a portable stroller chair for the family.
An enthusiastic and positive student, Rosario has worked hard since day one. By fifth grade, she was walking independently with a reverse rolling walker (indoors and outdoors), walking without an assistive device with light, one hand assistance, was going upstairs with one hand on the rail and light assistance, and down with contact guard assistance.
The transition to Hoech Middle School continued with the same enthusiasm and dedication. She was able to communicate with people bilingually, her endurance and strength had increased, and she began pushing to do many skills independently. With the pandemic and the change to virtual therapy, her family was dependable and supportive. During this time, Rosario began to walk and stand independently without assistive devices.
As Rosario’s independence grew, so did her confidence. She began to stand in place without a support surface and was self-initiating many of her daily tasks. Now Rosario has graduated to a Ritenour Chromebook and total independence. She can access Zoom links independently and use embedded features such as chat, explore, copy, paste, capture images, and resize. Rosario demonstrates daily to the world that she can do it herself and will say, “No, I can do it.”
Rosario can now navigate her environment independently with her reverse walker, and with assistance, participate in modified weight room activities during P.E.! She can walk indoors/outdoors with stand-by assistance from one end of the school to the other and walk up/downstairs with light. Because she can navigate her home environment fairly independently, she is able to help take care of her younger sister.
A determined adolescent, Rosario is looking forward to high school and the new challenges that she inevitably will encounter. Her commitment to academic success, devotion to physical independence, and self-advocacy will carry her far in most anything she wants to accomplish.
“When we discussed her new IEP goals this year, she immediately started working on the new challenges,” says Dr. Amy Meeks, special education teacher at Hoech. “She doesn’t look for the easy way to do things, but rather the way that helps her learn the most. I am so proud of Rosie!”