Gadsden State Cherokee students, special needs individuals make connection
Gadsden, Ala. – Students in the nursing program at Gadsden State Cherokee were provided a unique learning opportunity through a meet-and-greet with special needs children.
“Our students interacted with eight special needs children, two special education teachers, caregivers, parents and other relatives,” said Becky Samitt, a Gadsden State instructor who organized the event.
Students enrolled in the Nursing Concepts II course participated in the event on Jan. 22. The special needs individuals ranged in ages from 3 to 20, and the disabilities were cognitive and physical.
“The goal was to shape the nursing student’s mind to see the client’s whole picture,” said Samitt, who has worked in intellectual and developmental disabilities nursing for seven years. “This population provided these nursing students a learning experience that is truly priceless.”
Nursing students spent an hour with the special needs individuals interacting with them by finding answers to a scavenger hunt for all the children’s assessment. They were exposed to individuals with Down syndrome, ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, hydrocephalous, failure-to-thrive, spina bifida and syngap.
“This was a life-changing experience for the students,” she said. “For many of them, it clarified their passion to work with children.”
Becky Samitt, middle, a nursing instructor at Gadsden State Cherokee, distributes sensory toys for children involved in the meet-and-greet. She is pictured with Grayson Huffman, left, and her mother Sherri Salter Huffman.
Gadsden State Cherokee nursing students assess Jenna Shaw, pictured with her mother Rebekah Lynn Shaw. Jenna is one of eight special needs students to participate in a recent meet-and-greet with nursing students, special needs individuals, teachers and caregivers.
Also a part of the event was an exhibit by Patti Ford, who features special needs children and their families in her work. The students also enjoyed a dinner by the Baptist Campus Ministries during the day’s lecture.
“I was thrilled with the entire event,” said Samitt. “I enjoyed providing an educational experience to the nursing students, caregivers and children, who then, in return, educated each other.”