One Dubuque student takes the step of a lifetime - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

One Dubuque student takes the step of a lifetime

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

At Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School in Dubuque, a school assembly Tuesday celebrated the school's designation as a MOVE model site.

MOVE stands for Mobility Opportunities Via Education. It's a program that teaches mobility skills to kids and adults who have a physical disability.

For seventh grader Jenny Reisen, however, the day marked the step of a lifetime. With the help of a special walker and an aid, Jenny took the first step her mom Robin Kennedy ever saw.

"I was crying, of course, because it was a big step for us," Kennedy said after the assembly. "They told us that's she'd never really ever walk. We never thought she would. But she is, and it's amazing."

With the MOVE program's help, Jenny and other students with physical disabilities are moving toward greater mobility and acceptance.

"They're seen more as students who might just happen to have a special need, rather than a person in a wheelchair," Roosevelt special education teacher Beth Whisler said.

The school's designation as a MOVE model site reflects on the entire community of Dubuque, she said.

"Accessible doors - you'll see that at the mall and restaurants - and dressing rooms and bathrooms, and the list goes on, that you might not have seen back in the 80s," Whisler said. "I've seen many positive changes to accommodate all our special needs people, whether they be children or through adult life."

Now Jenny's parents are excited to see their daughter's mobility progress.

"Maybe see her [move] more independently," Kennedy said. "Maybe that will happen. I'm hoping it will."

Roosevelt Middle School joins Dubuque's Eisenhower Elementary as the only two schools in Iowa that are MOVE model sites. The Dubuque Community School District, however, incorporates MOVE teaching at all its schools.

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