Sarah’s Fighting Spirit

October 31, 2018

Thanks to you, Sarah, her team at Elim, and her family all work together as an unstoppable team.
Because of the nature of her disability, Sarah has lost the ability to use her arms like she has in the past. But with her fighting spirit and determination, that’s not going to stop her from accomplishing her goals.
“Sarah is such a fighter,” her teacher Jamie Fioravanti explains. “I would never tell Sarah that there’s something she can’t do because she will find a way. She always finds a way. Even though she’s often in pain, Sarah is always smiling and working hard.”

“Sarah is such a sweet girl and she loves to help me in the classroom,” Fioravanti shared. “She drives a power wheelchair and she works hard to be independent. She loves to help pass out papers to her classmates. She is extremely enthusiastic and loves to go to special classes.”
In the past, Sarah used her hands to express her wants and needs using a communication device. When Sarah began losing function in her hands, Elim’s staff knew they needed to find a new solution.
They began training Sarah to use an Eyegaze machine to interact with those around her. The machine allows Sarah to look at control keys on a screen and then generate speech by selecting pre-programmed phrases or letters.
“We decided to teach her to use the Eyegaze machine because Sarah’s eyes are really good. Since she can’t use her hands, we knew we needed to find a new way to keep her communicating as well as possible. We’re going to keep her communicating however we can!”

Next year, Sarah will move to Elim’s high school program. While her current teachers will miss her, Elim’s middle school team can’t help but cheer when they think about how much she’s grown.
“While I wish I could keep Sarah in my class forever, I want to see her continue to grow and help others.”
“When Sarah first came to Elim, she was so afraid that her mom had to attend with her! At Elim, she found a safe place and she knows how much we all love her. Now, she loves coming to school. Sarah is such a welcoming and wonderful girl that I think she’ll bless other students who may be nervous coming into high school!”

Sarah shared the following words at Elim’s middle school graduation this year:
“When I first came to Elim, I was nervous and apprehensive about all the new people and having them help me through my day. I quickly learned how wonderful everyone is and felt happy and safe going to school. I’ve grown a lot, faced challenges, and made many great friends and memories. It’s more than a school, it’s a family! I love Elim!”

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