ARLINGTON, VA (WUSA9) - If you have a child with special needs, you know doctors and therapies are expensive. Plus, it can be an upward climb to help make children feel included. On Friday, for a few hours, on the ice, those roadblocks melted away.
Five-year-old Brayden Segal is autistic.
"He has a lot of physical limitations, he has balance coordination issues, muscle tone issues," said his mom, Jami.
Jami said there aren't many sports activities Brayden can enjoy.
"He can't go to the playground and play similar to the other kids, we can't do basketball because he gets too overwhelmed in the gymnasium," she said.
A google search led her to the non-profit Dreams for Kids DC. They offer today's ice hockey clinic, a waterskiing clinic, cooking classes, a prom and other activities. And, it's all for free.
"We wanted them to feel empowered and inspired through these activities, so they know that they can accomplish just as much as able-bodied people," said Glenda Fu, the Executive Director of Dreams for Kids DC.
Brayden was one of about 80 kids with special needs on the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.
Jami said the ice hockey clinic changed Brayden's life.
"To see these moments, where there are just such highs when they're accomplishing something that you never thought that they would ever be able to accomplish....." Jami's thoughts are interrupted by tears. "He gets to be a kid and be typical out there on the skating rink with his coach, he can fit in and it's one of those rare moments when he gets to fit in a little."
WUSA9 asked Brayden, if you can skate all day, would you? "Yes," he said. "Let's go ice skating!"
Dreams for Kids DC also had 100 volunteers helping the kids on Friday, including many from Darcars. If you'd like to donate or volunteer, click here.
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