Green Hope ES student’s story gives voice to children with cerebral palsy

Children are curious by nature. They often ask questions about their classmate Dhruv, a 4-year-old pre-K student at Green Hope Elementary School, his mother says.

To help children in Dhruv’s class and other students at Green Hope understand why he used a walker to get around school, his mother Dipti Shah created this touching video explaining his condition in a simple way children could understand. Green Hope shared the video on October 2 with the school in honor of World Cerebral Palsy Day, and students and teachers wore green to support their classmate. October is also Disability History and Awareness Month.

“Our goal is always to raise more awareness,” Shah said. She encourages adults to do their best to answer children’s questions when they ask about people with disabilities. “Teach them not to stare, but to ask questions,” Shah said. “It’s those  questions that will lead to answers, and more awareness.”

Dhruv Shah, a pre-K student, hugs his teacher Brittany Phelps. Phelps was honored last year for her outstanding commitment to exceptional children.

Students and teachers have been encouraging and supportive of Dhruv since he enrolled in the school’s special education pre-K class. In 2011, the day Dhruv had surgery in St. Louis to help with his condition, his teacher emailed the family a photo slideshow of the entire school wearing green to support him on his big day.

“Seeing his friends wear green and hearing the words of encouragement really help him,” Shah said of her son.

Because of the caring and support her son has received, Shah even nominated teacher Brittany Phelps for a 2012-13 Friend of an Exceptional Student Award.

“[Brittany] wants students to feel like they are part of the school community,” Shah wrote. “She has done this by raising awareness for the types of disabilities that are prevalent in her classroom, but also making everyone understand that everyone is different and special in their own way.”

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