TEMPLE, Texas — At a Temple gymnastics center, gymnasts with functional disabilities have a chance to be themselves.
Kolby Hobson, 21, goes to the classes regularly. He likes jumping high, running and working out.
"I like gymnastics a lot. To be in gymnastics is to believe you're smart," Hobson said.
Hobson and his teammates all have varying functional needs.
"I've made a lot of friendships here," teammate Beth Kahler said.
Benji Becker has been a coach at Heart of Texas Gymnastics for ten years.
Becker's parents are deaf and he has a child with disabilities. To him, the center's classes are a chance for young people with disabilities to get outside the box society usually tries to put them in.
"Everybody needs to be treated the same," Becker said. "Everybody needs to have the same opportunities as everyone else. There shouldn't be any type of exclusion just because someone's different."
The push for inclusion isn't just happening in Temple.
Across the nation, gyms and organizations are pushing for inclusive programs for people with disabilities.
Texas A&M recently created Aggies Achieve, Texas' first inclusive, certificate-based, four-year education program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"They have the same dreams and the same aspirations as their peers without disabilities, but historically they've not had the same access," program director Dr. Carly B. Gilson said.
BISD's Delta Program helps students with disabilities identify their goals after high school, including job placement and volunteering, and map out plans to achieve them.
More information about Heart of Texas Gymnastics is available online.
For information about BISD's Delta Program contact the district's Special Education Department.
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