A student from the Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center has been recognized with a national 2017 Yes I Can Award Nomination by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) as part of its annual convention on April 21 in Boston. Twelve-year-old Kiley McDonnell was nominated by occupational therapist Jennifer Noronha, PhD, OTR/L, for her outstanding achievement in school and within the community.
The Yes I Can Awards program honors the accomplishments of 12 students with exceptionalities in six categories: academics, arts, school and community activities, self-advocacy, technology, and transition from school to adult life. Noronha nominated Kiley, who has been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, for her determination to develop new communication skills and gain independence, despite the challenges she faces every day.
“Kiley is an inspiration to her peers with different levels of physical limitations,” said Noronha. “Her perseverance, strong spirit, and hard work leading to an improved functioning has been a beacon of hope and a strong motivating factor for other students. Kiley is not able to breathe without a ventilator, but has a burning desire to help others, which teaches me to appreciate and share what I have.”
Based in Arlington, V.A., the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities. CEC accomplishes its mission through advocacy, standards and professional development.
About the Henry Viscardi School
The Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center is a New York State supported school that offers parents of children with severe physical disabilities and who often require life-sustaining medical treatment throughout the day, a traditional educational setting option that provides rigorous academics and opportunities for personal growth and leadership development. Its specialized, accessible educational setting provides a fully enriched academic program, a variety of therapies, assistive technology, and medical supports to students who may otherwise need to receive instruction in their homes or a hospital.
About The Viscardi Center
Founded by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who served as disability advisor to eight U.S. Presidents and became one of the world’s leading advocates, The Viscardi Center educates, employs and empowers children and adults with disabilities. It provides Kindergarten through High School education, school-to-work youth transition services, vocational training, career counseling and placement, assistive technology, adapted driver education and workforce diversification assistance to children, adolescents and adults with disabilities, and businesses.