May I Have This Next Dance?

Who says cerebral palsy and ballet don’t mix!

Jeoan Pierre | June 2019

a young girl dancing in a Rifton Pacer gait trainer in front of a red stage curtainAs a special ed teacher who has worked with students with a variety of physical challenges, I have a particular appreciation for Rifton Equipment. There’s a distinct excitement in seeing how the right equipment can change a child’s life. A piece of equipment could help someone be a runner, walk down the aisle to receive a diploma, or, in the case of one of my students, be an independent ballerina.

Jessica is a happy, sweet, and caring young lady. She spends the majority of her day in a wheelchair. However, once she was put into the Rifton Pacer gait trainer, her smile was bigger than I had ever seen, as her world opened up and her legs led the way.

Having Jessica be upright in a gait trainer was a way for her to be more independent and offered her an opportunity to interact with her peers at eye level in standing. But that wasn’t all! Many little girls grow up wanting to become a ballerina, yet as a child with cerebral palsy, this dream is more challenging. The Pacer made it possible for Jessica to be upright as a ballerina and perform on stage. It assisted in highlighting all of Jessica’s talent as she was now able to twirl on stage and give a ballet performance that none of us will forget! Nothing is more heartwarming than her smile as she performs while the audience cheers her on.

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