Jackson celebrates Disabilities Awareness Week - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Jackson celebrates Disabilities Awareness Week

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JACKSON, MO (KFVS) -

Jackson R-2 School District does something it's done for the past 5 years: honor Disabilities Awareness Week.

Five-year-old Carter can count to 10, run fast, and play on the slide by himself. His mom said he loves school.

"His favorite thing is the school bus, if he could ride it all day long I think he would be completely happy," said Sarah Kuntze.

That's what the week is supposed to be about, celebrating the things Carter can do, not what he can't.

Carter also has Down Syndrome.

"It kind of gives them for a week, you know, and I don't mean that in a way as to oh there's a kid with Down's Syndrome, let's be nice to him because it's disabilities awareness week, I just think it kind of gives them an understanding what it's like to live a day in their life," said Kuntze. "And to kind of, oh you know let's stop and help them, and not necessarily just look at the disability."

The week promotes the understanding of disabilities and that every person is important regardless of a disability.

Signs around Jackson show the week's theme: Everybody Counts.

"Just because you have a disability doesn't mean you can't succeed and you can't do everything you dream of doing, and I think this week kind of not only gives kids and other community members a reminder of that, but the kids themselves," said Kuntze.

One of the things Carter wanted to do, was play soccer.

"I wrote on the form my son has Down Syndrome, he's going to need a coach that's understanding and willing to work with him," said Kuntze.

The local league placed Carter of Marvin Adams Team.

"He is, he's just one of the kids, and he needed to have a great experience just like the other kids," said Adams.

As part of this week's celebration, parents of kids with a disability can nominate a person or business who has gone above and beyond for their kid.

For Kuntze, that person was Adams.

"It just touched my heart," said Kuntze.

"I was nervous, and I think if you just get in there and treat them like normal kids then watch them grow," said Adams.

"We get to the stop light, and he knows that's where we're going and he'll say, yay kick ball, kick ball," said Adams.

Another parents nominated Athletes Plus because of their cheerleading team for kids with special needs.

"It just means so much, and I think this week really helps them to realize hey those guys are our friends too we got to help them out, and be a good friend," said Kuntze.

"I think the coaches and the other kids, probably grew more than Carter did," said Adams.

Some said growth is what the week is about, and Kuntze said it's working.

"He doesn't know if someone was making fun of him, he wouldn't know, but from what I've experienced, that doesn't happen," said Kuntze.

The week educates kids through speakers, plays, and presentations.

You can take part in the week by going to the Jackson McDonald's this Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. A percentage of the proceeds will go to Melaina's Magical Playland.

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