From HER

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - the HER staff

One of the most frus­trat­ing ex­pe­ri­ences a disabled in­di­vid­ual faces may very well be the lim­i­ta­tions so­ci­ety places on them with­out tak­ing the time to learn about the per­son and the qual­i­ties they pos­sess. Over the last few decades, so­ci­ety has slowly come to re­al­ize that peo­ple of­ten la­beled “disabled” are quite ca­pa­ble and crave the same amount of in­de­pen­dence as any­one else. For­tu­nately, Hot Springs has sev­eral re­sources, or­ga­ni­za­tions, and in­di­vid­u­als ded­i­cated to mak­ing sure these voices are heard and given the tools they need to suc­ceed. Still, a large stigma still hangs above the heads of the disabled. This month’s is­sue is all about break­ing down bar­ri­ers and throw­ing the stig­mas to the wind.

On the cover this month is Rock Steady Box­ing, a fit­ness class for peo­ple with Parkinson’s dis­ease hosted by First Bap­tist Church. The class is taught by fit­ness in­struc­tor Amy John­son and uses var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, big and small, to help ath­letes with the dis­ease make progress with their di­ag­no­sis. Many of the peo­ple en­rolled in the class have made great strides since start­ing the pro­gram. John­son said many of the box­ers who first came in us­ing walk­ers to as­sist them are now able to walk freely, with­out as­sis­tance.

A large part of the ef­forts to pro­vide disabled in­di­vid­u­als with the space needed to blos­som into in­de­pen­dence are only made pos­si­ble through hard work from or­ga­ni­za­tions in the com­mu­nity like First Step. It pro­vides disabled in­di­vid­u­als with op­por­tu­ni­ties to live and work in­de­pen­dently and of­fers three dif­fer­ent types of ther­apy to help peo­ple con­quer sen­sory and speech is­sues. Peo­ple of all ages with dis­abil­i­ties have space at First Step where they are free to make their own de­ci­sions and set a path for fu­ture suc­cess.

Sev­eral area schools are also be­gin­ning to look at how they can bet­ter pre­pare their spe­cial needs stu­dents for life af­ter school. Lake­side Mid­dle School is on the fore­front of this mis­sion with their in­no­va­tive Thirsty Thurs­day Pro­gram. Stu­dents at Lake­side Mid­dle School spend class time on Wed­nes­days pre­par­ing sev­eral cups of lemon­ade to sell to teach­ers each Thurs­day. The stu­dents learn about dif­fer­ent jobs, how to work with oth­ers and the ba­sics of run­ning a small busi­ness. Each month, the stu­dents col­lect their earn­ings and get to spend it dur­ing spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties planned by their teach­ers.

Each in­di­vid­ual, or­ga­ni­za­tion, busi­ness, and school rep­re­sented in this month’s is­sue works to en­sure that any­one with dis­abil­i­ties in the com­mu­nity has the op­por­tu­nity to reach their goals and break down any bar­ri­ers stand­ing in their way. Hav­ing healthy, happy, hard­work­ing peo­ple is vi­tal to the bet­ter­ment of the com­mu­nity. With the help of these won­der­ful peo­ple fea­tured in this is­sue of HER and oth­ers like them, Hot Springs can con­tinue to ex­tend a help­ing hand to those in disabled com­mu­nity.

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