Apogee Helps NYC Special Ed School Get Into The Swing of Things
In June, Apogee received a letter from Kathryn Santa, Senior Pediatric Physical Therapist at P.S. 37 alerting us that a Donors Choose page was set up by her associate, Senior Occupational Therapist Mr. David Clarke to help raise funds for a special swing frame for students with disabilities.
PS 37 is a Department of Education District 75 School in Staten Island New York that is exclusively for children with special needs and multiple disabilities. These children are better served in a specialized school dedicated to meeting their specific needs.
Mr. Clarke says, “My students are special in every sense of the word” To know them is to want to do everything in your power to make them happy … to give their unique gifts and abilities a way to shine. Some of the diagnoses that these children have are autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s Syndrome and many other genetic and physical disabilities that can not be addressed in the general education system.
Mr. Clarke went on to explain that many of the students have severe physical and sensory limitations that make it difficult for them to participate fully in their school environment. “The old swing broke and they did not have the resources to replace it, and the students desperately needed their swing. Kathryn Santa added, “The swing we use is the only free standing sensory swing in the school. Throughout the day there is a waiting line to get on it and use it with the children. It does so many things for our kids both physically and mentally, to strengthen their muscles, improve their balance, get them accustomed to movement. We use it as a reward after working on something difficult, to calm them when they are upset and most of all to feel the freedom of movement that some of them never get to experience.”
Many children are stuck in wheelchairs all day and are deprived of movement in different planes, which only a swing can provide. Other student’s benefit from the core and upper body strengthening that happens when they are placed suspended equipment. Equally as important is the pure joy that they get out of doing something fun as well as therapeutic. For these students, typical playground equipment is often inaccessible.
The students needed the swing frame to replace a well-used and now broken frame. Betty Bennett and Bob Clearmountain did not hesitate to put the donations over the top and the school was able to purchase the new swing.
“The joy that we get to witness on the faces of our children that we care for is priceless… for those brief moments on that swing they are free to fly through the air and feel the movement that all children love and enjoy. Our therapeutic staff is very grateful for Betty and Bob’s generosity.” – Kathryn Santa, PT
Dear Betty Bennett & Bob Clearmountain,
Ever have one of those days? Your co-workers seem louder than usual, maybe the traffic was particularly heavy and you woke up with a headache and now the lights are too bright? We believe that this is how the autistic child experiences much of everyday life. Now imagine a deep green silky soft envelope that embraces you in a whole body hug. Now picture that envelope is a swing that can rock you gently. Perhaps spin slowly. Sounds pretty nice?
This is your gift to my students.
Not to suggest that the swing frame is only for slow and gentle activities. A bolster swing lets students practice balance skills with the comfort of knowing the therapist is swinging along with them. A platform swing can be sat upon while throwing or catching beanbags. The net swing can be used to lay down and fly like Superman or to push with the arms against the floor mats while assembling a puzzle.
In short, your gift rocks………
And it spins too! We love it and can’t thank you enough for making our days better.
Thank you for being there when we needed you.