Fifth graders get hands-on idea of what one classmate goes through

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Fifth graders get hands-on idea of what one classmate goes through
By: Jovce Edie ~ 5/30/2018

School Request KC HELP in sensitizing fifth Graders to their classmates handicap. What a privilege to help in the healing and adjusting transition for Arthur. A special time for all. The following article appeared in the Mattawa Area News.

Fifth graders get hands-on idea of what one classmate goes through

ArthurSchoolArticle05302018Blog_s.jpgArthur Gatica, a fifth, grader at Mattawa Elementary, is in a wheelchair. He's the only one in his class who is, but recently his c1assmates got an idea of what a normal day is like for him.

Thanks to physical education teacher Tiffany Hedman and the Tri-Cities Knights of Columbus KC HELP program, five wheelchairs were brought to the school so students could use them, specifically to play basketball, and see what Arthur goes through. “I wanted to bring in the wheelchairs to highlight how good Arthur is in his wheelchair, and give our fifth graders a little perspective on what his everyday life is like," Tiffany ' said.

"The kids absolutely loved it, and asked if we could keep the wheelchairs longer. They quickly found out that wheelchairs are challenging to manipulate, and that Arthur is a seasoned pro at it," she said. Arthur spoke with the fifth graders, giving tips on how to turn and stop the chairs. When students struggled in the wheelchairs, they would seek out Arthur for more guidance.

"I think this was a great experience for fifth graders, and made them quickly gain tons of respect for how well Arthur has adapted, and gets by in his wheelchair," said ArthurSchoolArticle05302018Blog2_s.jpgTiffany. Watching him, you might think a wheelchair is the only legs he has ever known. That's far from the truth.

Arthur explained that a year ago he was shopping with his parents in the Tri-Cities when he started to not feel good. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and his life changed. His spinal cord was filling up with blood for some reason. He said he can walk a little bit now, but not enough to actually get around.

His attitude isn't one of feeling sorry for himself. He smiles and laughs and is willing to talk about his experience. He said he has only lived in Mattawa for a year and his classmates are very nice and helpful. He said he thought it was pretty cool that his teacher had arranged the wheelchair day. Then he was done talking because he had to go shoot some hoops.