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Adaptive swing a gift from the heart

DALTON Jared Hochstetler didn’t appear to be bothered by the cold November wind this past Friday during outdoor recess at Dalton Elementary School.
Instead, the 8-year-old looked up at a fellow second-grader who was about to give his swing a push.

Other second-grade students and a first-grader circled around the sturdy, red plastic swing singing “Ring Around the Rosie.” One of them adjusted Jared’s leg to make sure he was comfortable, and they took turns keeping the swing in motion.

Terri Fogel, an aide at the school who has known Jared since kindergarten, said his classmates have always played with him and included him in tag and other playground games, but using equipment, such as the swings, posed a challenge.

Until a couple of weeks ago.

Fogel and her husband enjoy taking part in a game show filmed in Columbus called “Cash Explosion.” In February, Fogel vowed that she would like to donate money won through the show toward an adaptive swing. The swing cost about $460.

“I told them on the show that this was my desire to do with some of the money,” she said.

Now, as Jared is pushed in his wheelchair toward the playground at recess, he motions with his hands that he wants to swing.

Jared’s mom, Betty Hochstetler, said she is grateful to Fogel, other staff members and Jared’s classmates.

“I just think it’s wonderful that a public school like this goes the extra mile,” she said. “The staff and even the other children, they just adore him. They’re not doing it to be nice; they’re just wonderful.”

Jared was born with a rare disorder called partial nine trisomy.

“He can’t walk, and he’s not verbal,” Hochstetler said. “He gets his point across, and the school has helped him with a lot of stuff.”

Other students have benefitted from the adaptive swing as well, Fogel said.

“You can tell he gets excited,” Hochstetler said. “He makes excited sounds and waves his arms. She (Fogel) knows what he wants. They’re like two peas in a pod.”

Hochstetler said that her son had used a gait trainer so he can play tag and be involved with his classmates. She has watched him at recess interacting with other children. Recently, she was happy to learn that for once he would be able to swing with the rest of the kids.

“This is a huge thing for everyone,” Hochstetler said. “I was so impressed and maybe overwhelmed. It warmed my heart. It did.”

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