Special Needs Children Overcome Obstacles Essay

1127 words - 5 pages

Some people may look at a person with special needs and see disabilities. Some may feel nothing but sympathy, while others, through the lack of knowledge, overlook these amazing individuals completely. I am one of the lucky ones that not only has experienced having a person of special needs in their life, but to also have the insight to realize the impact of the life lessons that my friend Jeff Geis has taught me. Jeff, born with Down’s syndrome, has overcome obstacles in his life that most of us cannot even imagine. Doctors told his parents to put him in an institution when he was a baby, stating that they would never be able to teach him to walk, feed himself or even live past adolescence – he would be too much of a burden. Today at the age of 21, Jeff is a High School graduate, he is taking courses at State University, working a part-time job at Valley YMCA and a part-time job at his father’s firm. Not only has Jeffy accomplished the things that the “professionals” said that he would never be able to do – he has achieved these things, and more. Persons with intellectual disabilities have qualities that I can only aspire to: among them are their strong mind, strength and determination, optimistic and positive attitude and above all, their kindness and acceptance.
A strong mind, strength and determination are qualities that I always believed that I had until I met Jeff. I am not saying that I discovered that I did not have them; I just do not have the amazing drive that Jeff has. Everything that Jeff does, he goes at it full force with the belief that he will accomplish his goals. Take education for example, Jeff could easily have used his disability as an excuse but he was determined to graduate high school on his own accord. Not only did he accomplish his goal, he challenged himself even more and went on to college. He has come so far in his independence that he now lives on his own and spends his free time with family, friends and his constant companion; his dog Buddy. Partly inspired by Jeff, at the age of forty, I took the leap and went back to school. When I have a particularly rough day, I stop and remind myself of the trials and tribulations that Jeff has encountered and overcome and I feel the encouragement I need to endure and carry on. I know some days are a challenge for Jeff but very seldom does he let it show. He lives the saying “Without starting, how can you finish?”
Along with a strong mind, strength and determination, I see an optimistic and positive attitude in Jeff; I see it in nearly everything he does. From an early age, Jeff has been involved with the Special Olympics. He is an amazing competitor and really comes alive when he is in action with his fellow athletes. All of the athletes show each other such compassion while striving to give it their all; you cannot help but be inspired. These athletes teach us life lessons without even speaking a word and they do this while having fun and making friendships...

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