Kayla Wheeler, a teenager from Lynnwood, Washington, was born with no legs and only one arm. Yet, that has not stopped her from becoming a very, very full person!
She is a record-setting swimmer, plays piano, is an A student, and a very happy person. At 16 years old, she is only just getting started.
Kayla has competed and won medals at several international swimming events. She is a world record holder in her class which is for those who are most disabled. “I am basically the most disabled you can be and still swim,” she told ABC News recently.
She started swimming at 8 months old after her doctor suggested that her family try hydrotherapy to help her learn how to balance herself and sit upright.
Now, she is an incredible role model for both disabled and able-bodied children. Here are a few videos that tell Kayla’s amazing story.
Kayla has also inspired Breanna Sprenger, an 11-year-old from Avon, Ohio, born with the same disabilities, to compete in swimming. They met through the International Child Amputee Network. Check out Breanna and her inspirational story:
- Watch other great IMK stories about children and adults that exhibit perseverance or who have special needs
- Learn fun facts about the Paralympics and check out some of the incredible athletes who make up the U.S. Paralympics Team
Topics for Discussion:
- How would you describe Kayla’s and Breanna’s attitude and what effect has it had on their lives?
- What is one thing you want to try to do now that you have seen what Kayla and Breanna can do?
- Think about a big goal that you have. It could be for school, for family, or any other important area of your life. Write it down, using this goal worksheet or create your own worksheet. Keep track of your progress, stick with it and reward yourself when you have completed it. Keep doing this and you will be surprised at how much you can achieve.
- Consider holding a fundraiser to help Breanna Springer achieve her dreams or to support the International Child Amputee Network
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.