Greeting Life with a Smile | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 4/15/2012
Nathan Zent loves school. It`s sort of his thing. For some kids, it`s hockey, or piano or even acting. For Nathan, it`s all about hitting the books.
"Early on when Nathan was in grade school, he realized that he could do well in school. That was one thing he was really good at and I think that has driven him to be a really great student," said his mother Tania Zent.
Kenya Henry works with Nathan during fourth period geometry class. He`s learning the same material as the rest of his class, it just takes him a little longer to do the work. "I was kind of nervous because I wasn`t sure how much I would have to help him or how less, but he makes it easy cause he`s phenomenal," Henry said.
After his teacher`s lecture, Nathan goes out into the hallway to do his work. Because his cerebral palsy hinders him from using his hands, paraprofessionals like Henry fill in the gaps, writing down Nathan`s answers during tests and assignments.
After school, it`s off to physical therapy. It`s all become routine for Nathan. He`s been coming to therapy since he was just a baby.
Brian Laumb has been working with Nathan for the past ten years, supporting Nathan during therapy and at the Great American Bike Race. This year Nathan was chosen to be one of the stars of the race.
"To have a special day when they don`t have to think about these doctors` appointments and they can just have fun and be in an environment where there`s other kids with cerebral palsy and just lots of people who are enthusiastically helping them, it`s just a great day," Tania said.
It`s a day he`s eagerly awaiting. It`s been a trying year for Nathan. Last summer he underwent surgery on his hips and knees. Then in November he found out he had scoliosis.
"Some children with cerebral palsy do develop scoliosis. Some don`t. Growth is a big factor there. As children grow and muscles are pulling on the spine in ways that they don`t normally do," Laumb said.
And yet no matter what challenge Nathan faces, he greets it with a smile.