Good sports

Matheny director of physical therapy Cindy LaBar and Old Farmers student Carolina Booth help Matheny student Nicholas Barros Perez play the beanbag toss. LaBar, who grew up in and lives in Long Valley, attended Old Farmers Road.

“They do the same things we do. They just do them differently.” That comment by Old Farmers Road School fourth grader Tori Murray expressed perfectly the purpose of a recent visit by Matheny students to Old Farmers to demonstrate and compete in adapted sports.

The students participated in adapted bowling, a beanbag toss and manual wheelchair races. There was also a separate question-and-answer session with Sean Bielefeldt, Matheny director of recreation therapy. “The Matheny students like the same things you like,” explained Bielefeldt, “so remember that someone in a wheelchair is no different from you and me.”

The Old Farmers students learned how children with disabilities can participate in athletic activities by using adaptations. The visit also reduced any nervousness there may have been about how to relate to people with disabilities; and it replaced that nervousness with a sense of camaraderie and acceptance as the two groups competed together.

Old Farmers student Shannon Carratura competes in a wheelchair relay race.