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The Turning Point for People With Disabilities

Golf This Spring, a group founded at Scarsdale High School in 2018, works to bring Adaptive Golf to Westchester County, New York. We were originally started to help our classmate with cerebral palsy, Simon, fulfill his dream of playing golf, but we realized the need that all of Westchester has for an Adaptive Golf Device. The closest Adaptive Golf Course is in Connecticut - a long journey from Westchester. Our goal is to help purchase a Paramobile, a device that allows people with disabilities to play golf, for Saxon Woods Golf Course in Scarsdale, NY.

We interviewed Simon to gain insight into his experiences living with cerebral palsy.

Tell us a little about who you are.

I recently moved to Scarsdale last August from my homeland--a beautiful island city set in Southern China. I have cerebral palsy--a disorder that causes mobility difficulties, which includes trouble walking, speaking, and coordination among my body parts, so I use a wheelchair.

What were your relationships like with your former peers?

The relationships I had with my former classmates was somewhat abnormal. They were mostly good people with the exception of a certain few. Although my mom and I had told them to “ treat me like a normal person,” they still did not want to interact with me besides for academic topics, even though I tried to be active in the class. I do not think they wanted to avoid socially interacting with me, but I think they did not know how to. Hence, I felt lonely at times. It was very upsetting when people mocked me. And although this mocking did not happen too often, I was hurt. When a teacher told us to do group work, one girl said, “Every group has 4 people except for us. We only have 3 and half people. Simon is not considered a complete person but only a half-person”.

How is your impression of SHS?

It’s a great school! When first I arrived at SHS in June, a junior led us throughout the campus. She was very brave, in my view, to introduce the whole campus to an entire stranger. I was thinking that I would have big achievements because the school would encourage me to show myself and not be shy. Furthermore, people in this school are all nice and patient. I don’t feel so distant when talking to teachers--unlike some poker-faced teachers in China.

What are the some of your personal interests?

I love to play golf, and my team and I are putting effort into bringing Adaptive Golf, a way that people with disabilities can play golf, to Westchester County. Out goal is to play golf in Westchester this spring! We will be making use of a device called the paramobile, but the paramobile is unavailable in the county yet.

Additionally, I started to learn how to play piano last October with both of my hands, which I had never imagined I could do before. Recently, I just performed in my first recital on March 24th. I also enjoy and will continue finishing, which I have been doing for five years in China.

The safest machine for playing golf for Simon and other challenged athletes is the Paramobile, and we need your help to fund bringing this device to Westchester, NY. All donations are welcome, from one to five digits, and they are tax deductible. Checks may be made out to: Stand Up and Play Foundation, with "Saxon Woods" written on the Memo line. They may be mailed to: Maggie Favretti, c/o Scarsdale High School, 1057 Post Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583.

©2018 by Golf this Spring.