CLEAR FORK VALLEY — A mighty force of youngsters occupies a special room at the Clear Fork schools.
Many of these kids, described as having “special needs,” also participate in a group named the “Unstoppables.”
This is a team of 12 kids who go out and show their skills with other youths in the area, playing softball.
One area resident, Lindsay Roberts, spoke up for special needs kids at the most recent Clear Fork Valley Local School District Board of Education meeting.
She told board members designs for the new elementary building in Butler seems to have ignored special requirements for kids who have any type of special needs.
“Special needs” kids have genetic, developmental or physical problems.
Classrooms designed for these kids should not have wide open window space, but the new Butler building has just that for their room, Roberts said.
The idea is to keep their rooms confined in the sense that their attention won’t get distracted. Kids need to be able to concentrate and shouldn’t have to shut out events going on elsewhere, she said.
Her team, the Unstoppables, has been in existence a short time.
Roberts said she started it as a “trial thing.”
She has two sons, Blaze, eight, and Ledger, who is four. Blaze is in the special needs class, which is taught by Monica Stillion.
Kids in the class has a variety of disabilities, names that come with many syllables.
There is one child with a rare genetic disorder, Kleefstra syndrome. Another has Pierre Robin syndrome. This is when a child has a cleft palate, a small tongue and a short jaw. Some children with this condition have to be surgery to reconstruct their faces.
There is also Smith Magenis syndrome.
Two of the boys have tuberous sclerosis.
Roberts said many parents don’t know early on about problems their children are having. At about 18 months, people start talking about autism.
Roberts said she observed that her son was walking late, didn’t talk much and would have obsessions — like things spinning.
People wanting to get help analyzing children’s difficulties can go to Children’s Hospital in Columbus, but there is a six month waiting list.
Tabby Britton, the mother of Bobbie Jo, said many people don’t understand what is happening to children with these kinds of difficulties.
Roberts said there is “nothing around here for our kids.”
She said Blaze plays tether ball, but at a certain point he gets competition from others. This can result in a lack of understanding of him and his problems.
Roberts said she decided to try to establish the Unstoppables in March, and word was put out on Facebook. She started a team page, and now people drop off contributions. All the equipment she and the team members use has been donated.
She said she can go out, then come home and find a helmet or cleats on her porch.
The Unstoppables recently played the Terra Valley team, for kids up to 10 years old.
Roberts said opposing team members and coaches were supportive of the Unstoppables efforts.
The kids this week had a special event at school, originally intended to be a barbecue.
But because of bad weather, the event was held inside the Butler elementary building. Parents attended, and kids had sandwiches, snacks and good company.