AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Children of all ages and abilities need to stay active, but for some, its harder than others. That's where Kids Inclusion comes in.
"Kids Inclusion is a partnership between Turn Center and Kids Inc. of Amarillo. We're really excited, this is our first ever decathlon track-and-field event, and its open to kids ages 4 all the way up until 21, with special needs and without, so its children of all ability levels," explained Turn Center Director of Development Carolina Walden.
The decathlon brought out the competitor in everyone, while still promoting an inclusive environment.
"It really helps everyone feel included when we open it up and we say yes you can come, even though you're in a wheelchair, or you have a walker, or you have some other special need," said Walden. We're so excited that you're here and that we can all be on a team together."
Therapists at the Turn Center also benefit from the event. They get to see the kids in a natural, active environment that helps them bond and adjust their care plan.
"I like it a lot because I get to play with them," said Amanda Lawson, a physical therapist at the Turn Center. "As a physical therapist, we do a lot of work at the center so now I get to see some of my patients as a fun coach or friend to help them complete these events and be successful at it."
Occupational therapist Haley Ogburn agrees.
"I really like the idea that we can take any kid and make the sport work for them, if we need to change it in a certain way, whatever it is so that all of our kids can have a fun time, a good day, and enjoy sports," said Ogburn.
The kids also get to bond with their peers from school that they may not know how to interact with, and lay the foundation for more positive interactions with the disabled in the Amarillo community.
"This is a chance for them to come out and kids they may see in the hallway at school, are on their same team here. Now they might just be friends at school instead of thinking, 'I think I know her, or, 'I might know him'. We could really raise awareness, and if we start it young in our kids, that whole attitude will change in our community."
Kids Inc. and the Turn Center plan on continuing their partnership to bring more Kids Inclusion events to the Panhandle.