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Gestautas: A legislative victory and upcoming events for Tri County SRA

Community voice

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 9:00 a.m. CDT
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Karen Gestautas

A legislative victory for students with disabilities was accomplished, thanks in part to one of our participants, Tyler Woodworth of Lockport.

The governor signed the law, sponsored by state Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) and state Rep. Emily McAsey (D-Romeoville), allowing school districts to excuse students from their required physical education classes if those students are involved in organized adaptive athletics programs. State law already allowed the exemption for students participating in interscholastic athletic programs or certain other activities.

“People with disabilities who participate in adaptive sports should be given the same consideration as all other athletes,” said Gov. Pat Quinn. “Now, young athletes like Tyler will be able to have more academic flexibility and focus more of their learning time on classes they need to prepare them for college and a career.”

Tyler, who participates in the Chicago Hornets sled hockey team, recognized the inequality when he wished to take a computer science class and couldn’t.

• Coming soon in cooperation with our member districts, Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies promotes health and wellness for veterans with a disability. Qualified veterans receive a one year fitness membership at their home park district, along with a second membership for a friend, family member or spouse, at no cost.

Social networking opportunities with other veterans and their families and information about adaptive sports and other veteran organizations also are part of the program. For more information, contact Justin Banks at jbanks@tricountysra.org or call 815-407-1819, ext. 209.

• Our Disability Awareness program teaches participants what is involved when living with a disability. A range of disabilities are explored, including physical challenges, visual impairment, deafness and mental challenges. Each area includes educational, hands-on exercises and guided discussions. For information on how to schedule a session for your group, contact Kathy Ochromowicz at 815-407-1819, ext. 203.

• Look for our entry in the Lemont Keepataw Days parade. Participants and staff members will be riding and walking with one of our vehicles. The parade is at 1 p.m. Sept. 2.

For information about us, contact our office at 815-407-1819 or visit www.tricountysra.org.

Karen Gestautas is the public information coordinator for the Tri County Special Recreation Association

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