Program allows those with special needs to do it their way

FULTON, NY – Parents of Special Children has begun a new program.

“Doing it Our Way was developed by myself in hopes to allow my daughter and other special needs individuals the opportunity to play sports,” explained Monica Stoutenger.

Unfortunately, organized sports are not always so forgiving when we throw it in the wrong basket, kick in the wrong goal or when our feet go left when they should be going right, she pointed out.

“Doing it Our Way will be just that – we will play the same sports, dance the same dance, cheer the same cheers but we will do it our way!” the PSC board president and program coordinator, said. “Our first sessions, cheerleading, was a great success. We had eight participates and were able to include them in an activity that they might not other wise even consider trying.”

Their second session began nearly eight weeks ago and will end on February 28 with a dance recital at 6 p.m. at the Fulton Alliance Church, 1044 State Route 48, Fulton.

The “Doing it Our Way” program was developed in November of 2012 by a parent of a little girl with special needs.

“Although, socially she is typical, she is not able to participate in regular sports programs. Not all organized sports teams are tolerate of special needs individuals playing on their teams,” Stoutenger said. “Unfortunately, tolerance can wear thin when a unique individual throws a ball into the wrong basket, kicks the ball into the wrong goal, may not be able to say the words to a cheer being chanted by other cheerleaders or is unable to do all the dance moves at the dance recital.”

DIOW was designed for special needs individuals of any age who want to participate in
the Oswego County area.

“We are just going to do it our way! With volunteers and donations from our community we will be able play basketball, cheerlead and play soccer in the Fulton City School District gyms and dance at Off Broadway Dance Center with a recital at the Fulton Alliance Church,” Stoutenger  said.

Each activity runs for four to eight weeks with an event at the end of each session.

Those events include a recital for dance, cheerleading at the Fulton JV/Varsity game and a trophy event for basketball and soccer.

DIOW strives to keep cost to a minimum for its participants.

To do so, they accept not only monetary donations to cover the cost of gym use, providing dance shoes and other program needs, they also accept your unwanted basketballs and soccer balls.

“In the future, we plan to expand the program to other school districts and to add other
activities such as horseback riding,” the coordinator explained. “There has been talk of a Christmas Gift Making Day where program participants can create and wrap gifts for their loved ones.”

For more information, contact Stoutenger at 2 Tower Drive, Fulton, 598-7672.