When Freedom Elementary School Physical Education Teacher Jeremy Anderson heard Freedom was getting a new student who uses a wheelchair, he began thinking of ways to help the student participate in gym class.
“One of the many things I am very proud to say about the staff here at Freedom, is that we are always collaborating and brainstorming ways to make sure that all of our students feel included all of the time,” said Freedom Elementary School Principal Laurie Boyce.
Anderson reached out to a physical education learning network to see what other educators have done for their students in wheelchairs.
He gathered a few ideas, then built the equipment himself to make sure third grader Avery Card could participate.
“Mr. Anderson is quite innovative, and he is always looking for ways to enhance the learning here at Freedom,” Boyce said.
Anderson first built a “ramp” to help Card bowl in gym class. The student can also use the ramp outside to help “pitch” kickballs to his peers.
The ramp is made of PVC pipe and was built specifically for Card’s wheelchair, Anderson said. “The height of the ramp enables him to be able to see the outcome of what is happening and can be adjusted for different situations or needs.”
With a bit of piping left over, Anderson designed “sticks” to help Card participate in activities like soccer and hockey.
The sticks are attached to the bottom Card’s wheelchair with the PVC pipes and Velcro, which help him move a ball or puck on the floor.
The equipment is now part of Freedom’s resources. It can be used for years and be adjusted as needed, Anderson said.
Building the equipment may have taken a bit of time, but the reward of seeing Card’s excitement was well worth it for Anderson.
“It feels good on my part because it helps to know he is excited about being able to participate,” Anderson said. “Those are the moments that are enjoyable.”