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Special needs PE program makes big splash - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Special needs PE program makes big splash

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - A new physical education program in the East makes a big splash.

The Adapted Physical Education team at Pitt County Schools works with special needs students. This year, they launched Adapted Aquatics.

Some of the kids have never been in a pool before, so getting in the water was a big step. Now, two months into the program, they're making tremendous progress. From learning to hold their breath under water to actually swimming, these kids are proving nothing can hold them back.

"He really loves it. It's good for him,” said grandfather, John Buck. “He's a downs-child with autism so he's non-verbal but he communicates in other ways."

For families in Pitt County, seeing their special needs kids and grandkids splash around is something they never imagined.

"I think it's the greatest thing that could ever happen to him," said grandma, Gwendolyn Smith.

This is her first time seeing her grandson swim. Through the smiles, cheers and tears, she couldn’t be prouder.

"Once they told me about the program, I instantly signed him up,” said Smith. “I was so excited about it."

"It just makes you laugh. It makes you happy for them,” said aunt of a special needs child, Meredith Sumrell. “Know that if nothing else, they have a great qualify of life. They're actually learning how to do this. He learns every day, every time he gets in."

Nine students from Hope Middle School make up the pilot class for Adapted Aquatics.

"When they're in the water, it's not so much they're our students, they're our children,” said Adapted Physical Education director, Lara Brickhouse.

Her team teaches many different programs to about 300 kids in 27 Pitt County schools.

"We've just seen so much progress, it's really taken everyone by surprise,” said Brickhouse. “We're really grateful that the students have learned so much and we've had this opportunity to do it."

It’s an opportunity families in Pitt County hope continues.

"It gives them some degree of confidence so that they can be more accomplished," said Buck.

Click here to learn more about Adapted Aquatics and other programs through Pitt County’s Adapted Physical Education program.

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